Elbit Systems of America has built and operated 55 border towers, from 80-to-120 feet, to monitor illegal crossings over 200 miles of unpopulated U.S. Mexico borders in Arizona, reported the Star-Telegram. The company operates under a $145 million contract with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Now, Elbit Systems of America says it’s eager to expand its high-tech towers into Texas, New Mexico, and California, offering alternatives to a physical barrier.
The current towers feature radar that detects motion along the border, and cameras that can zoom in — and determine within seconds whether the motion is caused by a human, animal or vehicle. If necessary, a Border Patrol agent can then be dispatched to investigate the cause of the motion, reported the Star-Telegram.
“[The technology is] able to determine, are individuals are carrying backpacks, which might be an indication of drug loads, or are they carrying weapons, which might indicate a higher level of threat,” said Gordon Kesting, vice president of homeland security for Elbit Systems of America.
The camera towers are meant to complement the roughly 700 miles of existing border barriers in urban areas such as El Paso. The towers are not meant as a wall replacement, said Bob Edmonds, Elbit systems vice president for marketing. He added that the Border Patrol has requested an expansion of the camera tower system.
Regarding costs, it appears that the entire length of U.S. Mexico border not currently protected by a physical wall [about 1,300 miles] would be just under $1 billion to outfit.
February 13, 2019