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BAE Systems sees record order backlog amid wars in Gaza and Ukraine

Weapons manufacturer BAE Systems saw its order backlog soar to a record of nearly £70 billion as countries around the world continued to try to build up their military capacity last year.

Amid wars in Ukraine, Armenia and Gaza the business said it had taken in £37.7 billion in new orders, meaning it now had £69.8 billion worth of vehicles, missiles, submarines and other equipment to deliver in the years to come.

The business said it now had “a high level of visibility of our revenues for many years to come”, with some of the programmes running “well into the next decade”.

This year’s orders included big deals for weapons systems which have been used on the battlefields in Ukraine.

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Subsidiary Hagglunds agreed to sell 246 CV90-series infantry fighting vehicles to the Czech Republic in a £1.8 billion deal. The vehicles have been tested in Ukraine since Sweden donated 50 to the country’s armed forces.

Elsewhere, the new nuclear-driven submarines, called SSN-AUKUS, that BAE is producing for the UK and Australian navies was awarded an extra £4 billion by the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

It also renewed its support services contract for the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet with Saudi Arabia, a £3.7 billion deal which lasts until the end of 2027.

BAE’s results come three days before the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Since then, the company’s share price has soared, doubling in two years as many countries rush to update their defences.

BAE said it provided “support to our government customers and their allies to fulfil their primary obligations to keep citizens safe”.

Pre-tax profit rose to £2.3 billion from £2 billion a year earlier, BAE said.

Chief executive Charles Woodburn said: “We’ve delivered a strong operational and financial performance in 2023 and I’m extremely proud of the way our people have delivered cutting-edge equipment and services to our customers, working together with partners across our supply chain.

“Our performance, combined with our global footprint and record order intake, means we’re well-positioned for sustained growth in the coming years.”