Customs and Border Protection (CBP) expects to give its first blessing in the coming weeks to a new fixed surveillance tower system that that has been installed in one area or Arizona by prime contractor Elbit Systems [ESLT] for security along the border with Mexico.

The first set of towers and sensors that make up the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) system has been up and running in Nogales for two weeks and is in use by the Border Patrol, Mark Borkowski, the assistant commissioner of CBP for the Office of Technology Integration and Acquisition, told reporters in a briefing on Monday. Once CBP completes systems acceptance testing, the Border Patrol will conduct limited user testing for the next few months, he said.

If the limited user testing is successful, the IFT system will be turned over to the Border Patrol and CBP will then turn to negotiating a follow-on task order with Elbit to deploy another set of towers and sensors in a new Area of Responsibility (AOR), which will be Douglass, Ariz., Borkowski said.

The current schedule calls for the chief of the Border Patrol to give Borkowski an answer by the end of November on whether the IFT system is ready, he said. Currently, there are only minor issues with the system that Borkowski doesn’t see as showstoppers, although he cautioned that ultimately it is the Border Patrol’s call.

In 2014, CBP awarded Elbit a potential nine-year, $145.3 million contract for the IFT system and related operations and maintenance for deployment to six AORs in Arizona. Currently, CBP only has funding for four of the deployments, including two on an Indian nation, which are a priority for the Border Patrol but are still subject to completing negotiations with the Indians, Borkowski said.

If the four AORs are built out as scheduled, that will happen by the end of 2017 and cost about $75 million, including some of the initial O&M dollars, Borkowski said.

The IFT system is about two years behind schedule due to several factors. One was a deliberate effort by Borkowski to slow the front end of the process down to make sure requirements and planning were understood. Another factor was a bevy of bids that was unexpected and took a while to assess. Finally, after Elbit won the contract, Raytheon [RTN] successfully protested although in the end CBP awarded the bid again to Elbit, which is based in Israel and is working through its Texas-based EFW subsidiary on the program.

Borkowski said beyond the planned deployments in Arizona, there are potential deployments ahead in New Mexico and even one or two in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas.

The IFT systems consist of day/night cameras and ground radars on the fixed towers. Elbit is using cameras from FLIR Systems [FLIR] and radar from Elta Systems, which is part of Israel Aerospace Industries. The systems are used to locate and identify illegal activity in select areas between ports of entry.

The IFT program grew out of the terminated Secure Border Initiative Network, or SBINet, which was developed by Boeing [BA]. The SBINet system is deployed along 53 miles of border in Arizona and Borkowski said within several months of operations illegal activity in these areas was nearly “shut down.”

SBINet was terminated for several reasons, including high costs and because the Border Patrol decided it didn’t need such a system across the entire southwest border. Instead, CBP has been buying other cameras, radars and other sensors that have been deployed in various areas where certain technology makes better sense to use than other technology, Borkowski said.