'Arizonans have been waiting more than a decade for the Department of Homeland Security to place the needed technology along our border to support the Border Patrol. ... The awarding of this contract to Elbit Systems of America is an important development toward fully securing our southern border,' said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a statement. (Noorullah Shirzada / Getty Images)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s Elbit Systems announced Sunday that its US subsidiary won an international bid for an estimated $145 million anti-intrustion network to secure Arizona’s southern border with Mexico.
Managed by the US Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection Agency, Elbit announced March 2 receipt of a contract for base quantities to deploy an Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) network over the coming year, with options to extend activities over a multi-year period.
As lead contractor and integrator, Elbit will provide a range of electro-optical sensors, with state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) providing radar elements as subcontractor to Elbit, industry sources here said.
The Elbit IFT effort replaces a controversial SBInet program, which was terminated in Jan. 2011 after years of technological problems and schedule delays and nearly $1 billion in US taxpayer investment.
“Arizonans have been waiting more than a decade for the Department of Homeland Security to place the needed technology along our border to support the Border Patrol. ... The awarding of this contract to Elbit Systems of America is an important development toward fully securing our southern border,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a statement.
If fully integrated and properly deployed, “These 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,” said McCain.
The senator said he would personally monitor IFT project implementation given the big-ticket failure of the SBInet program.
“I will be closely overseeing how effectively [the Department of Homeland Security] 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.
“The American people have long expected us to secure our borders. The awarding of this contract is a step in the right direction,” McCain said.