Operating profit soared by 61% to £1,303m, up on the £808m in the same period in 2020.

Charles Woodburn, chief executive, said: Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our employees across the Group, we have delivered a strong first half performance which underlines our confidence in the full year guidance for top line growth, margin expansion and three-year cash targets.

“We are well positioned for sustained growth in the coming years and are ramping up our investments in advanced technologies to deliver capabilities for our customers in the face of an evolving threat environment.

“Following the decisive action taken to accelerate our UK deficit pension payments in 2020, the committed investment in the business coupled with the good operational performance, we are driving enhanced cash generation. This enables us today to announce a 5% increase in the interim dividend as well as initiating a new share buyback programme of up to £500m.”