Third-party security companies are stepping in to supply alternative security solutions to border needs. One company is Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of an Israeli-based aerospace and defense company, which was recently awarded $26 million in contracts from the United States Customs and Border Protection to install an integrated fixed system of towers in the U.S. Border Patrol Casa Grande Area of Responsibility in Arizona.
The tower system, made up of ten new towers complete with the latest high-quality cameras and detection systems, will be installed on the land of the Tohono O’odham Nation, which takes up a majority of the Casa Grande area. The towers will be deployed over the next year. This is one part of a larger contract Elbit has with the CBP.
“Over the last four years, the Integrated Fixed Towers system in Arizona has provided Border Patrol agents with critical information, situational awareness and safety, which is essential to helping agents secure the border,” Gordon Kesting, vice president of Homeland Security at Elbit Systems of America said. “Elbit Systems of America is ready to install additional towers to other areas of the border where Border Patrol has determined it could be part of an effective solution.”
The towers stand at between 120 to 200 feet in height and can monitor about 200 miles of sparsely populated areas along the border. On top of each tower rests multiple sensors made up of cameras and high-tech radars that can detect any activity happening around the border region. From there, whatever is detected pops up on a map for roaming Border Patrol agents to see while operating the system at command centers.
Radars will be able to detect if what’s moving out in the desert is human, animal, vehicular or otherwise. The major issue that Elbit wants to help solve is drug smuggling by employing underground robots to detect drug coyotes. Each tower can help to free up five to seven border agents and allow them to aid in actual capture of people crossing with drugs, according to Elbit.
“Elbit Systems of America is honored to have been selected by the CBP and the Tohono O’odham Nation to provide a solution to suit the needs of those living and working along the border in the Casa Grande Area of Responsibility. This project clearly demonstrates our company’s mission to provide innovative solutions that protect and save lives,” said the company’s president and CEO Raanan Horowitz in a statement.
Elbit and the CBP began working together in 2014 when the tech company was awarded $145 million to install cameras throughout the Mexico-Arizona border. This new contract is seen as a supplemental package meant to expand these efforts, which is a precursor to the company’s upcoming expansion to California, New Mexico, and Texas.