Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has awarded Elbit Systems of America a $26 million order for the sixth, and final, installation of surveillance towers in Arizona under a $143.5 million contract the company won in 2014.
The deployment of 10 Integrated Fixed Towers (IFT) in the Border Patrol’s Casa Grande, Ariz., area of responsibility, adds to the approximately 55 surveillance towers Elbit has already deployed elsewhere in the state to monitor the border with Mexico for illicit activity. The existing towers provide surveillance coverage for about 200 miles of border and once the IFTs in Casa Grande are operating, the virtual security system will monitor about 250 miles of the border.
The IFTs include radar, day and night cameras, and communications systems that are networked into a command and control center at a Border Patrol Stations in each area of responsibility to provide agents with long-range, persistent surveillance along the border to track, identify and classify targets.
For the Casa Grande deployment, Elbit will be installing the IFT’s on land owned by the Tohono O’odham Nation. CBP in March reached an agreement with the Native American tribe for the IFT deployment, which requires sensitivity to their sacred lands.
In previous IFT deployments, the towers are built into the earth, but for the Casa Grande installations, the foundations will be precast concrete blocks set on top of the ground. Otherwise, the towers are the same design, including sensors and support systems.
Elbit Systems of America, which is part of Israel’s Elbit Systems [ESLT], said the Casa Grande project will take one year to complete.
A CBP spokesman told Defense Daily on Wednesday that the agency is in the process of vetting “potential future requirements” for additional IFT deployments. Elbit has said previously that the agency is interested in potential IFT deployments in California, New Mexico and parts of Texas.
Elbit has also been working with CBP to enhance the capabilities of the IFT system, including integrating unattended ground sensors deployed along the southern border into the command and control system of the IFTs.