[wlm_nonmember][/wlm_nonmember][wlm_ismember][/wlm_ismember]Elbit Fort Worth, (EFW), a subsidiary of Israeli based Elbit Systems Ltd was awarded a long-awaited $145 million contract by the United States Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the Integrated Fixed Tower project. Through the first phase to span over the current year EFW will deliver a number of ‘Pergerine’ systems for installation on towers at the area of Nogales, Arizona overlooking the Sonoran desert range. Follow-on options could span over five additional border sections in Arizona. The total value of the contract plus support of eight years could add up to $145 million or more, if all options are implemented.
“Arizonans have been waiting more than a decade for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to place the needed technology along our border to support the Border Patrol and fully secure our Southern border.” U.S. Senator John McCain.
Elbit Systems has won against some of the largest players in the industry, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and General Dynamics.
[/wlm_nonmember][wlm_ismember]According to Brian Friel, a Bloomberg Industries analyst the program may eventually reach $1 billion if legislation to rewrite U.S. immigration laws passes Congress and helps fund the project’s expansion in the Southwest. The contractor selection was delayed for several months as the government had to extend the selection process for six months due to the unexpected high number of proposals received.
This long overdue program is follow-on to the much more comprehensive and expensive SBInet program awarded to Boeing in 2006. The Israeli company was one of the subcontractors for SBInet. That program, lead by Boeing, suffered major setbacks and cost increases since its inception, until the DHS pulled the plug on the program in 2011. By then, SBInet acquisition cost would rise to $1.9 billion, 564 percent higher than the initial estimated cost. As a key subcontractor to Boeing, Elbit Systems was hopeful it will bet part of the action, non has spilled over despite the fact that Boeing collected about $1.4 billion in contract awards until 2011.[/wlm_ismember]
“Arizonans have been waiting more than a decade for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to place the needed technology along our border to support the Border Patrol and fully secure our Southern border.” U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said, “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.” McCain added.
The U.S. bypassed some of its biggest contractors and turned to an Israeli company for help securing its borders. “It is odd to go offshore for this work, but in extraordinary circumstances, one really wants to employ the best,” Bloomberg quoted Mark Amtower, a partner at Amtower & Co., a government contracting consulting firm in Clarksville, Maryland. “A company with a track record of doing this work in Israel is “liable to be much further advanced in this particular arena,” Amtower said.
On its part, Elbit Systems has deployed a number of border protection systems including hundreds of kilometers of the ‘separation line’ border fence and obstacle between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, erected by Israel following the second Palestinian uprising in 2000-2004. The number of terrorist acts against Israelis has dropped dramatically since the establishment of that barrier. The company has also provided key elements securing the Israeli border area with Gaza and Egypt, through the use of ‘multi-sensor surveillance systems’.
The chain of observation towers also known as Integrated Fixed Towers (IFT) was a major element of SBInet, and one the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has always wanted. The baseline phase of the IFT contract will be part of the CBP 2014 funding for Border Security Fencing Infrastructure and Technology (BSFIT), part of a procurement budget estimated at $77 million.
[wlm_ismember]The requirement for sensors to be mounted on each tower include electro-optical and ground surveillance radar sensors capable to detect, track, identify and classify a single, average size walking adult human, at a distance of 5-7.5 miles (8-12 km) in daylight or night time. Acting as a system integrator, Elbit Systems will acquire the sensors either from its own sources or from subcontractors. In addition to passive, electro-optical sensors, ground surveillance radars will also be used, mounted on each tower to improve situational picture and target detection under adverse weather or limited visibility conditions. The sensors will also be linked over a network to display a common operating picture (COP), as part of the CBP command and control network.
Initial deployment of the IFT System will be in the BPS Nogales Area of Responsibility (AoR). Five additional AoRs may be deployed, for a maximum of six BPS AoRs within the State of Arizona. The period of performance of this contract, if all options are exercised including the sustainment effort, is anticipated to be eight years and six months after contract award.[/wlm_ismember]
The IFT is part of a more comprehensive system Elbit Systems has been pitching to the DHS for several years. Such system consists of a layered concept, combining radar and electro-optical sensors, unattended ground sensors, unmanned air systems, and manned or unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned vehicles, enhancing the agents’ flexibility, responsiveness and ability to respond. The integration of all sensors and systems though a common operating picture (COP) provides detailed information for detecting, tracking, identifying, and classifying items of interest; maximizing the efficacy of the mission.