At the risk of stating the obvious: I'm no big fan of terrorists. That said, it's beyond question that the scarier our world gets, the better it is for companies such as American Science & Engineering (Nasdaq: ASEI) -- whose raison d'etre is keeping us safe from the bad guys.

Yesterday, midday, one of the biggest names in bomb and concealed-weapons detecting reported its fiscal second quarter 2011 earnings numbers, and the news was predictably boffo:

  • "Record" revenues of $80.6 million, up 32% from last year.
  • Similarly record-breaking profits of $1.59 per share, which beat last year's number by 37%.
  • And with a gross profit margin that's pushing past 47% so far this year, AS&E maintains a sizable profitability lead over its closest rival OSI Systems (Nasdaq: OSIS), and more diversified rivals L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL) and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) (new owner of a bomb-detection unit that General Electric (NYSE: GE) probably regrets losing).

What's more, AS&E appears to be speeding up rather than slowing down, as the year progresses. Year-over-year sales growth was at its highest level in more than a year, and AS&E shows no sign of slowing down.

Mind you, management at AS&E remains notoriously reticent about making promises it might be unable to keep. But even so, we know that new orders increased 30% in the first half of this year, as compared to fiscal H1 2010. Backlog is up even more strongly, at 36%. Both of these suggest that over the next year or so, we should see AS&E continue to grow at a pace more strongly resembling what it produced in Q2, than in Q1, 2010.

And with every bomb al-Qaida tries to put on a UPS (NYSE: UPS) and FedEx (NYSE: FDX) truck or plane, and every attempt to sneak weapons aboard passenger jets in some terrorist's Underoos, the faster AS&E is gonna grow.

So give 'em a hand, folks -- for keeping people safe and making their shareholders richer in the process.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

American Science & Engineering is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. FedEx is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. United Parcel Service is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool owns shares of FedEx, L-3 Communications Holdings, and UPS.