CBP awards Integrated Fixed Towers procurement to Texas firm

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A long-awaited, somewhat delayed contract for towers hung with high-tech sensors to detect movement along the southwest border went to Texas-based EFW, Customs and Border Patrol announced Feb. 27.

The company, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems (also of Texas), will receive $145.25 million through a firm fixed contract under the Integrated Fixed Towers procurement the agency first unveiled in April 2012.

The contract award notice states that the contract will potentially last eight years and six months, with the first towers to go up in Arizona.

The Integrated Fixed Tower program is the latest in a series of federal attempts to cover the southwestern border with sensors capable of detecting illicit crossings. The last, SBInet, suffered cancellation in January 2011 after total acquisitions costs rose to a projected $1.9 billion, 564 percent more than the initial estimated cost, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Since SBInet's failure, CBP officials have stressed that while they want to electronic surveillance blanketing the southwestern border, they want already-developed technology.

The Integrated Fixed Tower solicitation called for sensors able to detect "a single, walking, average-sized adult" and provide sufficiently high-resolution video of that adult at a range of between 5 and 7.5 miles under conditions of daylight and darkness. The solicitation said the sensors should be able to handle obstructions to line of sight of up to 50 percent for up to 3 seconds and still function during sustained wind speeds of 10 miles per hour and gusts of up to 15 miles per hour.

Funding for the procurement comes from CBP's Border Security Fencing Infrastructure and Technology funding line, for which Congress appropriated $351.45 million in the fiscal 2014 omnibus funding act (H.R. 3547), including $77.37 million for IFTs.

For more:
- go to the contract award announcement

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