After the Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld Raytheon’s [RTN] protest of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) border surveillance contract to Israel’s Elbit Systems [ESLT] last winter, the agency has finished its reevaluation of the bids and has re-awarded the contract to Elbit, according to company officials.
Elbit originally won the potential 10-year, $145.3 million contract in February for the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) system but a successful protest by Raytheon led to a work stoppage until CBP worked through a reevaluation of the bids. That process ended with the re-award in August, Clark Friese, vice president of Sensors & Fire Control Solutions for Elbit Systems of America, said in an interview at the recent annual Association of the United State Army conference.
“We’re full steam ahead,” Friese said regarding moving forward on the re-awarded contract. “They’ve asked us to be very aggressive…Everyone wants to see the system out, they want to see it deployed, and they want to see it working.”
Under the contract, Elbit will install a series of surveillance towers in Nogales, Ariz., that is overseen by the Border Patrol, a division of CBP. The Border Patrol will test and work with the system to make sure it meets their operational needs before CBP awards another task order to install more IFTs elsewhere in Arizona.
The fixed surveillance towers consist of electro-optic and infrared cameras, ground radar, related communications, additional infrastructure and software to create a common operating picture for Border Patrol agents at the local command station. Elbit named its system Peregrine. The company is prohibited by CBP from naming its teaming partners and their respective contributions.
Elbit has experience with border security systems in Israel and other countries although Friese said the solution for CPB is “unique” given the rugged environment of the southwest border and the agency’s requirements.
The contract for IFT wasn’t the only one let by CBP this year for border security that was protested. Mistral Inc., part of the Mistral Group of companies, said its potential $50 million award from CBP in July for the Mobile Video Surveillance System (MVSS) has been protested.
The MVSS systems will consist of day and night cameras deployed on Border Patrol 4 x 4 vehicles.
Mistral declined to say who protested its contract and a search of the GAO’s bid protest docket turned up no results for the MVSS solicitation.
The IFT and MVSS systems are just two components of CBP’s plan to deploy a range of surveillance technologies along the border to mitigate illegal immigration. The agency has deployed, or is in the process of deploying, additional radar, camera, night vision and thermal imaging systems.