Mar. 8--Four major airports in the New York City area have hired Raytheon Inc. for more than $100 million to put together an anti-terrorist surveillance system that would monitor the airports' perimeters.
Raytheon, a Waltham defense and aerospace company, will lead a team of contractors that will deploy a mix of radar, sensors, video motion detectors, closed-circuit TV monitors, and electronic fences at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia in New York and Newark Liberty International and Teterboro in New Jersey.
The two-year contract from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which continues to beef up its security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is symbolically important for Raytheon as it repackages its communications, sensor, and command-and-control technologies for the military to defend airports, borders, and ports.
"Raytheon's research and development in the homeland security area, and the projects they're working on, have considerable potential," said Paul Nisbet, analyst for JSA Research in Newport, R.I. "Selling the New York airports is probably the best first step you could have for an airport defense system. If it works there, it's the kind of technology that could be used at every major airport in the country."
But the company will face stiff competition from rival Lockheed Martin Corp., among others, as it seeks to expand its foothold in the burgeoning homeland security market.
Several of the technologies in the New York airports' "perimeter intrusion detection system" are already deployed individually at other airports across the country, including infrared surveillance cameras at Logan International Airport in Boston. But Raytheon is marketing its approach as the first that can feed data from multiple sources into integrated command-and-control consoles that can simultaneously monitor, for example, an attempt to cut through a security fence and an effort to land a boat near the runway of a seaside airport.
"A single operator will be able to make an assessment of an incursion and perform a dispatch," said Richard J. Dinka, the Raytheon director of air space management and homeland security.
Pasquale DiFulco, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said the system, details of which were reported in yesterday's Star-Ledger newspaper in New Jersey, is part of a $2.3 billion investment in security operations and capital improvements since 2001, when the port authority lost 84 of its employees in the terror attacks. "Our airport facilities are of paramount importance to us," he said.
Raytheon, which is bidding on similar airport security contracts in the Middle East, hopes to market its perimeter system widely. Andrew B. Zogg, vice president for air-space management and homeland security at a Raytheon site in Marlborough, estimated the business could be worth $300 million to $500 million in five years. "This is our entry into airport security systems in the United States along with the opportunity for international orders," he said.
Zogg said Raytheon currently has about 25 employees working in Marlborough on systems to safeguard airports, and that number could more than double in the next few years.
The company has been working on several other homeland security initiatives, including Vigilant Eagle, a grid of sensors on towers and buildings that would protect commercial jets from shoulder-fired missiles. At least initially, however, that would not be part of the perimeter intrusion detection system being deployed in New York and New Jersey.
Homeland security still represents just a fraction of the more than $20 billion Raytheon rings up in annual revenue, but company officials expect the business to grow substantially in coming years. Nisbet estimated overall industry revenue from homeland security, now several billion dollars a year, could double in the next seven years.
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