Elbit to help US secure Mexican border

Israeli defense firm to provide advanced surveillance and tracking technology.

September 25, 2006 03:36
1 minute read.

elbit logo 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

A consortium led by Boeing, the second-largest American defense contractor, and including Israel's Elbit Systems, has won the first piece of an estimated $2 billion government project to develop and provide new technologies to secure the US borders, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The $80 million contract is the first part of a multibillion-dollar Homeland Security Department plan to secure America's borders with Mexico and Canada. The program's final cost is unknown, a department official said, because it hinges largely on whether Congress approves spending some $1b. to build a fence along the Mexican border. Until then, the contract will be given to Boeing in phases, the department official said. Chicago-based Boeing was among several major defense companies competing for the job. While other companies' proposals relied more on using aerial drones, Boeing focused on a network of 1,800 high-tech towers equipped with cameras and motion detectors that could feed live information to Border Patrol agents. Elbit participates in the the consortium through Kollsman Inc., its US subsidiary. Kollsman's expertise includes the integration and development of advanced electro-optical systems for surveillance and tracking, optical fiber technology for security, video communication and control systems alongside image-processing and smart systems for electronic fences. Drones from the Hermes family of unmanned aerial vehicle and the mini-sized Skylark UAV, which can be carried in a pack by a single soldier, are also some of the capabilities Kollsman brought to the consortium. The contract, part of the Secure Border Initiative, is the US government's latest attempt to use advanced technology to solve its illegal immigration problem. The Department of Homeland Security gave companies chasing the contract - including Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. - freedom to come up with their own ideas for how best to apply new and developing technologies to the problem.

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