The European and US companies, which were shortlisted in Turkey’s controversial long-range missile acquisition project, will continue to stay in the program while Ankara conducts contract talks with China for the coproduction of the missiles.

The Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), the country’s state-owned arms procurement agency, extended the deadline for the shortlisted companies on the missile tender from Jan. 31 to April 30 to see whether they are still interested in staying with the project.

Today’s Zaman learned that both Eurosam, an Italian-French consortium, as well as the US Raytheon-Lockheed Martin (LM) partnership have informed the SSM that they would continue to stay in the project and would stand by their earlier offers. In other words, both companies are understood to be unlikely to come up with improved offers increasing their technology input on the missile systems even though they decided not to withdraw from the tender.