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Defense giant Boeing has won the contract for Homeland Security’s Secure Border Initiative, to beef up security along more than 7,500 miles of U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada, reports The Washington Post.

Boeing defeated four other companies in the intensely fought contract competition.

The full project had been estimated at $2 billion, but the Boeing award will be less, reported the Seattle PI. A public announcement is planned today.

Under the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) contract, Boeing will help unify existing technologies and install new tracking sensors and communications equipment so border agents can better monitor regions that range from urban centers to desert, to huge lakes and forested mountains.

Boeing, teamed with L-3 Communications, Unisys Corp and others in its bid, which relies on more than 300 radar towers along the borders. Some would be supplemented by cameras developed by Israel’s Elbit that can spot people at up to 14 kilometers and vehicles at up to 20 kilometers.

The Bpeing/Insitu Scan Eagle UAV is equipped with nose-mounted inertial-stabilized camera turret that carries either zoom CCD or IR sensors. Maximum level sped is 70 kt. ScanEagle is currently deployed with the US Marine Corps in Iraq.

All companies offer an array of sensors, including infrared, motion and seismic. But they are divided over where to place them — whether to bury them, mount them on towers, or send them airborne attached to planes, helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles, reports the Washington Post.

Lockheed Martin would use blimps as a big part of the solution, Northrop Grumman touted the firm’s fleet of UAVs, including the Global Hawk to cover large areas and the KillerBee, a small, low-altitude vehicle for more-focused missions while Raytheon planned to let agents watch incidents unfold on Google Earth.

Boeing would line the borders with 1,800 high tech towers. In its pitch for the contract, Boeing stressed the company’s low-cost, best-value approach and said the company’s integration of other major programs, including the Army’s Future Combat Systems, gave it the needed experience.

MITRE helped the Border Patrol craft objectives over the next six years, including modernizing the agency’s technical infrastructure and anti-terrorist training. MITRE’s “Blue Force Tracking” technology is used extensively in the Iraq war.

DailyWireless has more on Border Surveillence.

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