The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it would delay action on any new export license requests by BAE Systems Plc after the British military contractor pleaded guilty to violating several U.S. laws.

BAE pleaded guilty on March 1 to conspiring to make false statements in connection with foreign arms contracts and agreed to pay a $400 million fine to settle a long-standing inquiry into its business practices.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the department was studying the judgment entered in federal court in the District of Columbia and would not move forward on any export license approvals for now.

We are assessing the implications that the plea will have, Crowley told a news briefing. Though no final determinations have been reached, our analysis indicates that it would be inappropriate for us to make decisions on pending export applications at this time.

Crowley added that this meant applications for export will be delayed if those applications involve BAE Systems PLC or any of its subsidiaries.

The BAE settlement involves questionable payments it made to secure arms contracts in Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and other countries.

The Justice Department said BAE had violated commitments it made to the U.S. government in 2000, when it was seeking to expand into the United States, to comply with the anti-bribery provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The act makes it illegal to pay bribes to foreign officials in order to secure or retain business.

The $400 million fine is one of the biggest levied against a defense contractor, comparable with the $402 million that engineering and contracting group KBR Inc and its former owner, Halliburton Co , agreed to pay in February of 2009 over its dealings with Nigerian officials.

BAE also agreed last month to pay $50 million to settle a parallel action by Britain's Serious Fraud Office.

Since the Justice Department launched its criminal investigation in 2005, BAE has replaced its chief executive and chairman and hired a new chief legal officer.

(Reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Andre Grenon)