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  Boeing awarded U.S. border security contract

Reuters | September 21, 2006
By Deborah Charles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday hired Boeing Co. to develop sensors, cameras and other equipment to help U.S. agents control the vast, 7,500-mile U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.

The project to detect illegal entry attempts, known as Secure Border Initiative or SBInet, will first target the Southwestern U.S. border with Mexico, the department said.

"SBInet will integrate the latest technology and infrastructure to interdict illegal immigration and stop threats attempting to cross borders," Michael Chertoff, secretary of Homeland Security, said in a statement.

"This strategic partnership allows the department to exploit private sector ingenuity and expertise to quickly secure our nation's borders," he said.

The department did not say how much the three-year contract was worth, but industry experts value it at around $2.1 billion. The contract can be extended for up to three additional years.

Boeing will help unify existing technologies and install new tracking sensors and communications equipment so border agents can keep a closer eye on cities and deserts in the Southwest as well as on lakes and forested mountains along the Canadian border.

Boeing's project proposal also included relying on more than 300 radar towers along the borders, some supplemented with cameras developed by Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd. which can spot people at up to 14 kilometers and vehicles at up to 20 kilometers.

Other partners of Boeing in the bid include L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., Unisys Corp. and Perot Systems Corp..

Losing competitors were Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Co., as well as Sweden's Ericsson.


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