The selection of Hercules Aerospace Products Group as the solid propulsion contractor for the Delta 2 and Titan 4 missile programs means the company's pre-eminent position in solid propulsion boosters for unmanned space vehicles is assured for years to come, according to the company's chief executive officer.

David S. Hollingsworth spoke during the company's annual meeting and said he expects the Aerospace Group to double its sales in the next five years and by 1992 sales should triple.Hollingsworth said the company started the first two months of 1988 with improved margins and consolidated operating profits 10 percent ahead of last year.

"Even with the loss of equity income from the sale of our interest in HIMONT Inc., the 1988 first-quarter operating earnings should be about the same as last year's results of 85 cents per share because of higher interest income and fewer shares outstanding," he said.

He said management's challenge is to get onto a solid growth path and grow in volume, earnings and employment. "Our restructuring phase was necessary for survival. In today's environment, profitable growth is necessary for survival, and that's what we intend to do," Hollingsworth said.

"We expect that total net income will grow at an average rate of 12 percent over the next five years, and that the dividend will grow at a 7-8 percent rate. Shareholders' equity is expected to grow at 6 percent, and we are committed to increasing research and development efforts up to a level of 4 percent of sales by 1955," he said.