The Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) has awarded a definition study contract to Turkish companies Aselsan, Roketsan, and Franco-Italian consortium Eurosam for Turkey’s future long-range air and missile defence system.

SSM is responsible for acquisitions of the air and missile defence systems under the President of Republic of Turkey.

The study, which is scheduled to continue for 18 months, will be conducted with a focus on preparing the development and production contract for the future system meeting the operational requirements of the Turkish Air Force.

The current deal is a follow-on contract from the Heads of Agreement signed by the industry on 14 July and the letter of intent signed by the French, Italian, and Turkish Defence Ministers on 8 November last year.

Eurosam, backed by its shareholders MBDA and Thales, managing director Abdoulaye Samba said: “Today, we are proud to provide this know-how to the co-operation between France and Italy with their Turkish ally within Nato.

“I am confident that this co-operation will also last several decades and will contribute to bringing our countries closer on a strategic level, as it has been the case for the last thirty years with France and Italy.”

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The definition study supports the launch of a three-country joint long-range air and missile defence programme.

Slated to be developed by the middle of the next decade, the future missile defence system will feature the latest military capability designed to counter threats such as stealth aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.

The joint development activity is expected to support the country’s air and missile development programme, and will also help generate additional opportunities for exports and longer-term co-operation between Turkey, Italy, and France.