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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
Boeing secures US border contract
Immigrants retreat after a failed attempt to get to US from Mexico
About one million people enter the US illegally each year
Boeing has won a US government contract to develop security equipment for monitoring the 7,500 miles of borders the US has with Mexico and Canada.

Sensors and cameras are among the equipment to be developed by the firm to detect illegal entry into the US.

Industry experts estimate the three-year Department of Homeland Security contract is worth $2.1bn (1.1bn) to Boeing.

Boeing's tender includes plans for 300 radar towers along the borders.

The first part of the contract to be announced is a $67m deal to cover just 28 miles along the Mexican border with Arizona.

Key issue

America has been spending vast sums on securing its borders since the 11 September attacks five years ago.

More than one million people illegally enter the US each year - primarily from Mexico - and reducing this number has become a key political issue.

Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff said that the department was looking to build "a 21st century virtual fence".

Map of US and its borders

The Boeing project involves partnerships with companies including Unisys.

It will include tracking sensors and communications equipment allowing border patrol staff to keep a closer watch on the borders.

The system will work together with cameras, developed by an Israeli company, which can spot people from 14 kilometres away.

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