The U.S. government has awarded Boeing Co. a contract to build a high-tech "invisible fence" to protect the country's northern and southern borders, the Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday.
Boeing's surveillance system involves raising 1,800 towers equipped with cameras and movement detectors along the 6,200 miles of U.S. land borders. Some reports have put the value of the deal at $2.5 billion, although Homeland Security officials declined to give a figure.
The fence, dubbed the SBInet (Secure Border Initiative) program, will provide Homeland Security officials "with the best possible solution to detect, identify, classify, respond to and resolve illegal entry attempts at our land borders with Mexico and Canada," the department said.
The system that Boeing will set up "will integrate the latest technology and infrastructure to interdict illegal immigration and stop threats attempting to cross borders," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
In a press conference with Boeing Vice President James Albaugh, Chertoff described the system as a "21st-century virtual fence."
Boeing estimates it can set up the system in three years.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006