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Tomahawk missile maker Raytheon's sales rise 4.2 pct

July 27 (Reuters) - Tomahawk missile maker Raytheon Co reported a 4.2 percent rise in quarterly sales, led by strong demand for its laser-guided bombs and missiles that defend ships.

Raytheon, which also makes the Patriot missile system, bumped up its annual sales and profit forecasts for the second time this year.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based weapons maker raised its 2017 sales forecast by about $200 million to $25.1 billion to $25.6 billion, and its expectation for earnings from continuing operations by 10 cents to $7.35 to $7.50 per share.

Raytheon said sales in its missile systems unit, its biggest by revenue, climbed 11.4 percent to $1.90 billion in the second quarter ended July 2, helped by higher sales of the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2), Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), and Paveway family of laser and GPS precision-guided bombs.

SM-2s are often used to defend ships against anti-ship missiles and aircraft. They have a range of about 90 nautical miles. SM-3s destroy incoming ballistic missile threats in space using sheer impact that is equivalent to a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 miles per hour.

Revenue in Raytheon's space and airborne systems business, its second-biggest, rose about 4 percent to $1.61 billion, helped by higher sales from a domestic classified program.

The unit makes electronic warfare systems for tactical aircraft, helicopters and ships, as well as tracking and navigation sensors used on airborne platforms, among other products.

Raytheon's total sales rose to $6.28 billion in the second quarter from $6.03 billion a year earlier.

Net income attributable to Raytheon fell to $553 million, or $1.89 per share, from $717 million or $2.41 per share.

Second-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations included a 9-cent charge related to the early retirement of debt, while the year-ago earnings from continuing operations included a tax-free gain of 53 cents.

Raytheon's shares have so far risen 19.4 percent this year, slightly better than the 18.5 percent increase in the Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace and Defense index. (Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)