THE Scottish Greens have hit out at BAE Systems and the UK Government after the weapons manufacturer announced its order backlog soared to a record of nearly £70 billion.

Maggie Chapman MSP said it was “blood money” given the firm’s history, including recently arming the Israeli military during its assault on Gaza – which has led to the deaths of nearly 30,000 Palestinians.

Amid wars in Ukraine, Armenia and Gaza the business said it had taken in £37.7 billion in new orders, meaning it now had £69.8 billion worth of vehicles, missiles, submarines and other equipment to deliver in the years to come.

READ MORE: Paul Sweeney pulls out of Israel-linked arms trade event in Holyrood

The business said it now had “a high level of visibility of our revenues for many years to come”, with some of the programmes running “well into the next decade”.

This year’s orders included big deals for weapons systems which have been used on the battlefields in Ukraine.

The Scottish Greens MSP for North East Scotland (above) said that BAE Systems has a “long and shameful history” of arming some of the “worst despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers in the world”.

“When the rest of us see a humanitarian crisis the arms dealers see a business opportunity. Every time there is war, conflict or repression there are merchants of death like BAE trying to profit from it,” she said.

The National: Maggie Chapman

“BAE’s arms have played a central role in the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen and are contributing to the genocide in Gaza.”

BAE Systems makes components for F-35 fighter jets, whose exports were even blocked by a Dutch court two weeks ago citing concerns about the risk of them being used to carry out war crimes in the bombardment of Gaza.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the arms firm’s share price has soared, doubling in two years as many countries rush to update their defences.

This included new nuclear-driven submarines, called SSN-AUKUS, that BAE is producing for the UK and Australian navies – which was awarded an extra £4bn by the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

BAE said it provided “support to our government customers and their allies to fulfil their primary obligations to keep citizens safe”.

Pre-tax profit rose to £2.3bn from £2bn a year earlier, BAE said.

Chapman added that while BAE are “awful", they “haven't acted alone”.

“The only reason they are able to sell their deadly wares is because of a shameful and complicit UK Government that has supported them every step of the way,” she said.

"The Scotland I want to build is a peaceful and progressive one that will have no place for companies who profit from human misery and exporting violence."

The comments come after representatives from BAE Systems, as well as a range of other arms dealers including Raytheon and Leonardo, attended a parliamentary reception on Wednesday which the Scottish Greens called an "arms dealer propaganda vehicle".

The event held for the ADS arms lobbying group was sponsored by Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw and led to a protest outside Holyrood.

BAE Systems’ chief executive Charles Woodburn said: “We’ve delivered a strong operational and financial performance in 2023 and I’m extremely proud of the way our people have delivered cutting-edge equipment and services to our customers, working together with partners across our supply chain.

“Our performance, combined with our global footprint and record order intake, means we’re well-positioned for sustained growth in the coming years.”