Raytheon has reported a massive fourth quarter profit increase of 84 percent, fuelled by increased sales of combat systems and a tax gain.

Continuing operation profit rose to US$634m, up from US$344m in the same period last year.

Sales increased 7.9 percent to US$6bn.

Raytheon says including the loss from discontinued operations, such as the sale of its flight operations unit in October, net income rose to US$598m from US$365m in the previous year.

In the fourth quarter, Raytheon recorded a US$214m tax refund dating from 1984 to 1990.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh