FORT WORTH, Texas — A Fort Worth defense contractor is watching the border wall debate closely in Washington, D.C. hoping that the end result will be more usage of its electronic surveillance devices and equipment guarding the southern U.S. border.
Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems, says it currently has more than 40 fixed surveillance towers along the Arizona-Mexico border with its cameras and sensors covering 200 linear miles and more than 2,000 square miles, providing an early warning system for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
And it’s a system they hope the debate between President Trump and Congress will eventually allow to expand.
"We are waiting on finalization of the budget for CBP [Customs and Border Protection], that's the big debate going on in D.C.,” Elbit Systems of America homeland security vice president Joel Friederich said. “Once that happens, we hope to see some movement in the government for requests for proposals."
In addition to the potential expansion of Elbit Systems tower installations, the company also unveiled a mobile unit that it designed at the request of CBP.
The Mobile Modular Surveillance System, or M2S2, is a heavy duty truck outfitted with the same camera and sensor technology raised in four minutes on a telescoping mast and able to be deployed to areas the fixed towers can't see.
"So you can open up a blind area in a matter of minutes,” said Bobby Brown, Senior Director of Customs and Border Protection for Elbit Systems of America. "Down to the detail of: Are they carrying weapons? Do they have bundles? Do they have children with them? We can determine exactly what they are doing. Or to the other extreme, if it's a herd of 12 cows — I don't care."
Border patrol agents describe the best border protection as a three-legged stool, with border agents, border barriers, and technology making up those foundational three legs.
This multi-billion-dollar Fort Worth company is watching closely to see if its support and its high-tech products will be asked for in greater numbers once the haggling is over in Washington, D.C.