Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Wednesday said the next draft request for proposals (RFP) for new border security sensor tower effort will be released early in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022, which began July 1, a slight delay of one to three months from prior expectations.

The multiple-award Consolidated Tower and Equipment Surveillance (CTSE) acquisition will have a short and long-term focus, with the immediate effort to continue to provide existing tower solutions leading to being able to integrate hardware with a common operating picture (COP) that reduces manpower requirements.

CBP has three primary surveillance tower programs that will be consolidated into the Integrated Surveillance Tower (IST) program as part of CTSE. These separate efforts are the Autonomous Surveillance Towers, provided by Anduril Industries, the Integrated Fixed Towers, provided by Elbit Systems of America [ESLT], and the Remote Video Surveillance System, supplied by General Dynamics [GD].

The current surveillance tower systems are stove-piped and require Border Patrol agents to operate and manually detect, track and identify items of interest. Eventually, under the CTSE effort, the Border Patrol wants to be able to use the COP to control the towers but also get automatic alerts and data to reduce manpower requirements.

CBP said updates on the COP procurement, which is separate from the CTSE acquisition, will come in a separate announcement. In April, CBP also said the draft RFP for the COP would be released during the third quarter of FY ’22.

To ensure that the IST systems can integrate with the COP, CBP says it will require the sensor tower vendors to publish related interface control documents, application program interfaces, and software development kits.

CBP in December 2020 issued the initial draft RFP for the new sensor tower effort, which at the time was called Tower, Power, Instrumentation and Communication.