U.S. border surveillance contract goes to Israeli firm
Special to WorldTribune.com
WASHINGTON — The United States, bypassing leading contractors, has awarded a border security project to a subsidiary of an Israeli defense firm.
The Homeland Security Department awarded a contract worth up to $145 million to Elbit Systems of America for the supply of surveillance systems to integrated fixed towers.
Under the contract, Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, would equip the towers along the Arizona border with Mexico.
“If this technology is developed, integrated and fielded correctly, these integrated fixed towers in southern Arizona, coupled with the tremendous work of the Border Patrol, will give our agents the ability to detect, evaluate, and respond to all illegal entries crossing our border,” Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said.
The first stage of the award called for a one-year contract in which Elbit would deploy border surveillance technology in southern Arizona. The $145 million contract would require the exercise of several options by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“Currently, CBP awarded the base period quantity for a portion of the
$145 million contract amount, to be implemented over an approximately 12-month period,” Elbit Systems said on March 2.
Elbit bested leading U.S. defense companies, including Boeing, General
Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. In 2011, Boeing lost a contract for
a border surveillance system, called SBInet, amid delays and malfunctions.
The latest award called on Elbit to supply and mount cameras and radars
on fixed towers. Officials said the Homeland Security Department would
release additional details later in 2014.
“I will be closely overseeing how effectively DHS procures these towers
to make certain we do not have another mistake like the SBInet project that
set back for years the deployment of needed technology,” McCain said. “The
American people have long expected us to secure our borders. The awarding of
this contract is a step in the right direction.”http://www.worldtribune.com/2014/03/03/u-s-border-surveillance-contract-goes-to-israeli-firm/