UPDATE 2-General Dynamics profit rises 7.3% on higher Gulfstream deliveries

Mike Stone

(Adds details on tank unit, backlog)

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Higher deliveries of Gulfstream jets helped U.S. aerospace and defense company General Dynamics Corp report a 7.3% rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday, but its shares were flat in pre-market trading after gaining 2.5% on Tuesday.

Net earnings increased to $913 million, or $3.14 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 29, from $851 million, or $2.85 per share, a year earlier. Wall Street analysts estimated earnings per share of $3.06, according to Refinitive data.

Revenue rose 7.3% to $9.76 billion.

On Monday, General Dynamic's Gulfstream division unveiled its widely expected G700 long-range jet, in a challenge to Bombardier Inc's flagship Global 7500 aircraft.

Gulfstream delivered 38 new business jets to customers in the quarter compared with 27 for the same quarter last year.

Combat systems, which makes tanks, saw its revenue go up 14% from last year to $1.7 billion. In July, the U.S. State Department approved the possible sale to Taiwan of 108 of General Dynamics' M1A2T Abrams tanks, angering China.

Also in July, General Dynamics won a $2 billion contract to continue supporting global security, engineering and supply chain missions for the U.S. Department of State.

Total backlog at the end of third quarter 2019 was $67.4 billion, compared with $67.7 billion at the end of the second quarter. (Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington, D.C. and Dominic Roshan K.L. in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Steve Orlofsky)