In an economic environment it describes as “challenging but stabilising”, BAE Systems is eyeing rising sales in 2015, led in aviation by its role as UK lead in the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium and its position on the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme.

Delivering 2014 results that saw the world’s third largest defence group by sales post an 8% decline in revenue to £16.6 billion ($25.7 billion), chief executive Ian King said: “We believe US budgets are now relatively stable, with some early indications of a modest improvement in 2016.”

The 2014 dip in revenue was partly attributable to a boost in 2013 from the adjustment to prices in the longstanding Salam Typhoon contract with Saudi Arabia, he said. Pre-tax profits nearly doubled in 2014, to £900 million.

For 2015, said King, US appropriations passed in December included “stable” support for major programmes including the F-35. In addition, sales of Typhoon as well as in-service support for existing and legacy combat and Hawk trainer aircraft remain solid.

On the Salam Typhoon programme, UK final assembly of the 72 aircraft continues. At end-2014, 45 aircraft had been delivered.

Typhoon Brimstone 2 - MBDA