Thales and MBDA will compete with US defence firm Raytheon over a contract to build a mid-range defence system for Poland.
Poland’s Ministry of Defence announced the tender shortlist on Monday, rejecting bids from the Israeli government and the Lockheed Martin-led MEADS consortium.
In a reaction to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, Poland, a Nato member since 1999, has recently sped up its efforts to procure the mid-range missile defence system, expected to cost about £3bn.
Together with the shortlist, the Polish defence ministry said the system will have to feature technology which is already in operation and used by another Nato member state.
This change of criteria disqualified the Lockheed Martin bid, which involves technology still in development, and the Israeli proposal called David Sling’s, which is in not yet operational.
The ministry said terms of the tender will ensure the participation of Poland's domestic defence industry in the construction of the missile defence, with the state defence holding Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa playing a key role.
Raytheon welcomed the announcement.
"We are moving ahead to provide Poland with the most advanced air and missile defence system in use today by 12 countries around the world," said Dan Crowley, president, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.
"And (we) look forward to partnering with the Polish industry to build the next-generation Patriot system."
The first phase of the Polish system, known in Poland as Wisla, is for eight sets of mid-range interceptor rockets, which may later be supplemented by short-range ones.
Poland has already passed legislation to secure funding for the system, the ministry said earlier this year.
MEADS International issued a statement saying it was disappointed with Poland's announcement, but that it would keep working with existing national partners Germany and Italy to finish development of the system.
"Today's announcement reflects new criteria for the Wisla selection, and should they change again, we stand ready with the most advanced air and missile defence system available today."
The planned system is separate from elements of a US missile shield to be deployed in Poland by 2018, as confirmed by US Vice President Joe Biden on a visit to Warsaw this week.