Saab’s aeronautics business posted a strong third quarter to end-September, with sales rising 11% to SEK 4.87 billion ($765 million) on higher Gripen E fighter development activity, while operating profit (EBIT) gained 51% to SEK 354 million owing to “efficient project execution” and lower amortisations.

The quarter was also characterised by a soaring order book – nearly trebling to SEK 11.4 billion – on Swedish orders for Gripen E work and upgrades to the country’s Gripen C/D fleet. A first contract with the Spanish navy for use of Skeldar unmanned systems during the EU mission to the Gulf of Aden also figured, along with some SEK 477 million in orders for Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 and A320 work.

During the quarter, Switzerland’s parliament confirmed its support for a 22 Gripen E deal that may lead to a firm order in 2014, and the Czech Republic opted to renew a lease on 14 Gripen C/Ds, details of which are yet to be finalised.

For the nine-month period, segment sales gained 9% to SEK 1.39 billion, and EBIT jumped 63% to SEK 117 million.