March 8, 2018 / 11:45 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Dassault Aviation voices Brexit concerns as it posts higher profits

* Delays in UK/France drone project -Trappier

* Dassault Aviation posts higher 2017 profits

* Dividend up to 15.30 euros, shares rise (Adds further executive comments, detail)

By Cyril Altmeyer

PARIS, March 8 (Reuters) - Dassault Aviation, one of France's leading military and civilian jet makers, voiced concerns over the impact of Brexit on Thursday, as it reported higher 2017 profits.

Dassault Aviation's head Eric Trappier told reporters that uncertainty over British defence spending and the Brexit process could impact French and British co-operation on joint military projects.

In 2016, France and Britain agreed to invest 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) to help build a new drone, and in January this year the two countries also unveiled further joint initiatives in security and military spheres.

Britain's BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, along with Dassault Aviation, Safran and Thales of France, are among those involved in the drone project.

However, Trappier said there had been delays to that drone programme, and added there were questions over the impact that Brexit could have on British government spending.

Last year, France and Germany edged towards achieving a 70-year-old ambition to integrate European defences when they signed a pact with 21 other EU governments to fund, develop and deploy armed forces after Britain's decision to quit the bloc.

Dassault Aviation forecast delivering 40 of its Falcon planes and 12 of its Rafale fighter jets for 2018.

Net sales were expected to be similar to the 2017 figure, while the company raised its dividend to 15.30 euros from 12.10 euros last year, with Dassault shares rising 1.6 percent in mid-session trading.

Last month, Dassault Aviation announced plans for a new long-range business jet, renewing a battle with Gulfstream at the top end of the market as demand for the ultimate status symbol recovers from a prolonged recession.

$1 = 0.8085 euros Editing by GV De Clercq/Sudip Kar-Gupta

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