Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last Friday released a draft solicitation for a forthcoming acquisition of new integrated surveillance towers for border security.

The agency is planning separate procurements of its future Integrated Surveillance Towers (IST) Towers, Power, Instrumentation, and Communications (TPIC) effort and the common operating picture (COP), which will include software and the command-and-control center hardware.

CBP plans to award one or more contracts for the IST TPIC by the second quarter of fiscal year 2022. A virtual industry day to discuss the IST TPIC acquisition will be held on Jan. 13, 2021.

The draft request for proposals says CBP will acquire relocatable towers, which allows the agency to adjust to shifting patterns of illegal activity at the border, and fixed systems. The towers will typically range between 80- and 120-feet high, although in some cases the infrastructure be taller.

The sensor systems will include short, medium and long-range day and night cameras, pan-tilt units, laser range finders, spotlights, laser illuminators, site cameras, land and maritime radar, and loud hailers.

CBP currently operates a variety of fixed tower systems, including the Integrated Fixed Towers and Remote Video Surveillance System-Upgrade for certain areas of operation along the northern and southern U.S. borders. The agency’s border surveillance capabilities also include unattended ground sensors, Mobile Surveillance Capability and Mobile Video Surveillance Systems. The various sensor systems feed into Border Patrol station command and control centers.

CBP would like its sensor and surveillance systems to work autonomously and display results through the command-and-control center COP and provide alerts to portable communication and computer devices used by field agents. The agency wants the systems to automatically detect, track and identify items of interest and communicate these items in full motion video.