By Ulf Laessing
Deal will see extra radar facilities, telco networks and coastal detection centres built.
European aerospace group EADS said on Wednesday it has won a five-year contract to help boost Saudi border security, which an official at a local partner said is worth $2.3 billion."It's about 8.5 billion Saudi riyals ($2.27 billion)," an official at Al-Rasheed Trading & Contracting, a Saudi company which will help EADS with construction works, told Reuters, speaking on conditions of anonymity. "It was signed last night," the official added.
A spokeswoman at EADS declined to give any indication on the amount of the contract, but did say it would be the prime contractor on the largest ever competed worldwide as a full solution.
The deal is part of plans by the world's biggest oil exporter to bolster frontier surveillance with hundreds of extra radar facilities, coastal detection centres, telecommunications networks and reconnaissance aircraft.
Saudi officials have warned about escalating violence and sectarian fighting in Iraq and an insurgency against the US-backed government in Baghdad.
France's Thales, Britain's BAE Systems Plc and US group Raytheon had also vied for the contract.
In March, EADS and Al-Rasheed announced a first deal to install a razor-wire fence, thermal imaging and radar equipment along Saudi Arabia's 900-km (560 mile) frontier with northern neighbour Iraq.
"This deal covers the rest of the border. It involves much technology, radar, camera systems," the official said.
More projects might come up such as a deal possibly worth up to 1 billion riyals ($266.7 million) to secure a major border crossing point to neighbouring Oman, the official said. (Reuters)