Boeing handed US border security contract


Boeing has secured a contract with the US department of homeland security to provide security equipment to help control illegal immigration across the country's borders with Mexico and Canada.

Under the secure border initiative (SBInet), sensors and cameras will be among security equipment initially deployed by Boeing along a 28-mile stretch of the Mexican border with Arizona.

The department of homeland security said that the initial phase of the three-year contract will be worth $67 million (£35 million) to Boeing, with analysts estimating that the overall deal, which will eventually see 6,000 miles of border areas monitored, is likely to be worth about $2.1 billion (£1.1 billion) to the company.

Under the contract, Boeing will help unify existing security technologies used to monitor US borders and install new tracking sensors, cameras and communications equipment to assist the work of border agents in cracking down on illegal immigration, with more than one million people estimated to enter North America illegally each year.

Boeing's bid for the contract incorporated the use of more than 300 radar towers along US borders and will also see the company teaming up with other companies, including Israel's Elbit Systems, who will supply cameras which can detect people up to 14km away under the terms of the deal.

Awarding the new border security contract to Boeing, homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff told a news conference: "What we are looking to build is a virtual fence, a 21st-century virtual fence.

"The key to this is integration. Prior efforts to put technology on the border have been focused on individual tools, but not on putting all the tools together," he added.

Boeing's defence arm, which accounts for more than half of the company's total sales, previously helped the US government to install systems to detect explosives at airports in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

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