Defence giant BAE Systems remains on course to hit its financial targets for 2019 after reporting a has £513 million increase in revenues for the first half of the year.

The company – which operates BAE Systems Submarines in Barrow – reported revenue of £8,674 billion for the six months ending June 30 – up from £8.161bn for the same period in 2018.

Operating profits also rose to £896m for the period, compared to £792m in the first six months of last year.

Sales increased by 4 per cent to £9.4bn, while the group’s order backlog stood at £47.4bn, up from £39.7bn compared to last year.

The interim dividend also increased by 4.4 per cent to 9.4p per share.

BAE Systems chief executive, Charles Woodburn, said: “The first half performance underpins our guidance for the full year with improvements being made on a number of operational fronts.

“Our priority is to deliver consistent and strong operational performance for our customers and shareholders to enable us to meet our growth expectations over the medium term.”

Around 10,000 people work for BAE Systems Submarines, most directly, with others in its extensive supply chain that includes 98 Cumbrian companies.

At present there are 2,800 people working exclusively on the Dreadnought programme in Barrow alone, with a further 4,200 more supporting it through the Ministry of Defence and industry.

Among the highlights for the first six months was the release of a further £800m of funding towards the £31bn Dreadnought programme. Work is already well underway at the site’s purpose-built Central Yard Facility on the first cutting-edge vessel, called HMS Dreadnought, which is due to be operational in the early 2030s.

It, along with HMS Valiant and HMS Warspite, will replace the four Vanguard class submarines which have provided a continued at sea deterrent since 1992 with four new vessels.

The Barrow site is also delivering the Astute class submarine.

BAE Systems Submarines spent £700m with suppliers last year.