* H1 core profit up 11 pct at 945 mln stg
* New CEO sees no change in strategy, but will sharpen focus
* Reaffirms full-year targets (Adds CEO comments, shares)
LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - BAE Systems' new boss Charles Woodburn aims to sharpen operations and make parts of the defence group work more closely together but said on Wednesday after announcing a rise in first-half profits that there was no reason to change overall strategy.
The world's third largest defence contractor, whose products include the Typhoon Eurofighter jet and Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines, reported a better than expected 11 percent rise in half-year core profits to 945 million pounds ($1.25 billion) and said it was on track to meet its full-year target.
"It's clear that we have the right strategy that harnesses our strengths, so we will continue to stay the course," he said.
"It's very much a case of evolution not revolution. It's a good strategy bolstered by the macro environment we now operate in."
Group sales were up 4 percent at 9.6 billion pounds on a constant currency basis in the first six months of 2017, while earnings per share were up 14 percent at 19.8 pence, beating analysts' forecasts for sales of 9.1 billion pounds and earnings of 19 pence a share.
The interim dividend was increased to 8.8 pence a share, from 8.6 pence last time.
Woodburn, a former oil industry executive who spent 15 years at Schlumberger, said he had taken a "good hard look" at BAE in the 15 months he spent as chief operating officer before taking over from Ian King as CEO in July.
The Cambridge University electrical engineering graduate said BAE expected to benefit from governments spending more on defence in some of its biggest markets, but it could still do more to improve efficiency.
"We will do that by continuing to be focused on our costs as well as bringing together the power of the group more effectively, collaborating to the benefit of our customers," he said.
He pointed to work by business units in Australia and the United States on the Land 400 combat vehicle project in Australia as an example of successful collaboration.
BAE's largest markets are Britain and the United States, and it also has substantial operations in Saudi Arabia, India and Australia.
It has long been expecting a major follow-on Typhoon order from Saudi Arabia but Woodburn declined to comment on the prospects on Wednesday.
"I am certainly not going to speculate on Typhoon, other than to say we are confident we will get future Typhoon orders in the portfolio," he told reporters.
BAE's shares, which have risen 14.6 percent in the last year against a 11.5 percent rise for the FTSE 100, were down 1 percent at 600 pence at 1152 GMT.
The stock has been boosted by the prospect of an increase in the U.S. defence budget, although Woodburn cautioned that any benefit would not be felt for some time in BAE.
"It takes time for these things to filter through," he said. "We are not expecting further uptick in the immediate future, but in the medium term I think it does look positive."
As a result Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris, who has a 'hold' rating on the shares, said he remained cautious about the company's current growth prospects.
"The key question is whether BAE is gaining momentum heading into FY18 we are not sure of that," he said in a note.
"While BAE's outlook in the USA is probably positive, that in the UK and Saudi Arabia is arguably not, so we end up with a tie. Unless the world gets scarier still, BAE's overall progress may remain sedate."
The company confirmed its forecast for underlying earnings per share this year to be 5-10 percent higher than the 40.3 pence it made in 2016.
It said that although there had been no change to its earnings forecast for the overall group, it had seen a deterioration in the performance of its cyber security business.
As a result it said it was restructuring the Cyber & Intelligence unit, which accounts for 3 percent of group sales and made a loss of 27 million pounds in the first half, despite achieving double-digit sales growth.
"What is key for us is to make sure that we translate this double-digit growth into sustainable, profitable growth going forward," Woodburn said. ($1 = 0.7574 pounds) (Editing by Kate Holton, Greg Mahlich)