Ultra High-Tech Systems to Watch LaG, JFK and Newark

High-end perimeter system links video with sensors to detect any breach at airports


Mar. 25--"Ring of steel" security is touching down at area airports, officials said yesterday.

An ultrahigh-tech surveillance system will soon monitor the grounds at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York and Newark and Teterboro in New Jersey.

Equipped with a James Bond-like array of radars, infrared sensors, motion detectors and electronic fences, the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System will be able to detect everything from a trespasser cutting through a security fence to suspicious boats trawling too close to the runways.

"It's the first of its kind in the nation, and it's a technology that allows the eyes and the ears of the facility to be coordinated in one place so police and rescue personnel can respond immediately," said John McCarthy, a spokesman for the Port Authority, which runs all four airports. "It's like a digital security net."

The $138 million security system, which was devised by the aerospace and defense firm Raytheon, is now being installed at the airports and is expected to be fully operational by February 2008.

"The days of someone sitting in a room full of monitors are a thing of the past," said Richard Dinka, director of air space management and homeland security for Raytheon. "This is a fully automatic system that can monitor the entire perimeter of the airports."

When a sensor picks up the presence of a person or thing in an off-limits area, an alarm goes off in a central command center.

At that moment, the operator will receive a written description of the disturbance, such as "attempt to cross fence in zone 15," while a camera zooms in to provide an image.

The operator then decides if the situation warrants alerting the authorities.

The NYPD is installing a similar "ring of steel" around lower Manhattan -- and plans to post 505 surveillance cameras around the city.