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PARIS, July 25 (Reuters) - French planemaker Dassault Aviation reported lower first-half profits and revenues on lower Falcon business jet deliveries and higher research and development costs on Thursday, but predicted a pick-up in revenue in the second half.
On the eve of a visit by France's defence minister to India, the maker of luxury jets and Rafale warplanes also stressed the importance of completing a major fighter contract in the country and called for the launch of two new European drone projects.
Dassault Aviation said first-half operating profit excluding its stake in electronics firm Thales fell 23 percent to 187 million euros on revenues which fell 5 percent to 1.826 billion euros. It took in 1.41 billion euros of new orders.
It predicted a rise in full-year Falcon deliveries to 70 units compared with 66 in 2012, and higher full-year revenues. (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer, Tim Hepher)