DHS asks industry for communications equipment that works in cross-border tunnel inspections

WASHINGTON, 2 June 2016. U.S. border security specialists are reaching out to industry to find commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) communications technologies that enable federal agents to stay in touch when they inspect cross-border tunnels.

DHS asks industry for communications equipment that works in cross-border tunnel-inspections
DHS asks industry for communications equipment that works in cross-border tunnel-inspections
WASHINGTON, 2 June 2016. U.S. border security specialists are reaching out to industry to find commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) communications technologies that enable federal agents to stay in touch when they inspect cross-border tunnels.

Officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington issued a sources-sought notice on Wednesday (CBP-RFI-01June2016) for the Subterranean Communications project.

DHS officials are interested in handheld or agent-worn radios, cell phones, tablet computers, and related equipment; communications repeaters; power subsystems; and supporting command-and-control subsystems that will help federal agents in tunnels communicate with others on the surface.

Tunnel environments can block or degrade radio, unmanned vehicle control, computer networking, and other wireless communications. Radio signals cannot penetrate well through thick layers of dirt, wood, concrete, or other tunnel-building materials.

This subterranean communications infrastructure should be able to support not only voice, data, imagery, and video communications, but also robots, mapping, and tracking equipment.

Related: DRS to provide integrated voice communications systems aboard Navy cruisers and destroyers

Federal personnel and sometimes support robots must be able to operate in tunnels and sewers for surveillance, training, and mapping operations. Lack of line-of-sight communications in these areas make it difficult for those in the tunnels to keep in tough with those on the surface. Echoes and long tunnels also can pose problems.

DHS experts are trying to determine if commercially available communications equipment can meet their needs for tunnel communications. They hope compete systems will weigh less than 50 pounds, operate for at least eight hours on a battery charge, and measure no larger than 3 by 2 by 3 feet.

Companies interested should email six-page responses no later than 23 June 2016 to the DHS's Rasheeda Brooks at rasheeda.j.brooks@cbp.dhs.gov, with a copy to Brice Winston at brice.winston@cbp.dhs.gov.

Email questions no later than 8 June 2016 to Rasheeda Brooks at rasheeda.j.brooks@cbp.dhs.gov, or Brice Winston at brice.winston@cbp.dhs.gov.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DHS/USCS/PDDC20229/CBP-RFI-01June2016/listing.html.

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