Customs and Border Protection on June 24 issued a Request for Proposals for the Multirole Enforcement Aircraft Land Interdiction (MEA LI) and says it plans to acquire up to nine of the aircraft as well as associated spares and services under a single award indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract.

The legacy MEA fleet stands at 29 aircraft and was integrated by Sierra Nevada Corp.

The MEA LI will be based on the Textron [TXT] King Air B300 model airframe to maintain standardization with the fleet. The estimated value of the expected five-year contract was redacted in solicitation documents. CBP expects multiple bids for the procurement. CBP plans to host oral presentations the week of July 25.

Congress appropriated funding for the new aircraft in fiscal year 2022. In their markup last week of the FY ’23 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, House appropriators proposed $38 million for the MEA LI, $22.2 million less than CBP requested given the committee’s opposition to an incremental funding strategy proposed by the agency.

The current MEA fleet is used for surveillance over land and water. The aircraft are equipped with sensors for detection, tracking and surveillance operations at stand-off ranges to avoid counter-detection.