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03OE-07-SUAS - System, Small Unmanned Aircraft



A small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) comprises an unmanned aircraft and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft (see definitions below).  The system generally includes a fixed or rotary-wing (tethered or non-tethered) aircraft and a Ground Control Station (GCS).  sUAS must be operated in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and statutory requirements.  Comprehensive sUAS guidance is available on the FAA's website at https://www.faa.gov/uas/.

Definitions (see 44 U.S.C. - 44801; 49 U.S.C. - 40101 note; 14 C.F.R. - 107.3 for these and other relevant definitions):

  • Small unmanned aircraft means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft.
  • Small unmanned aircraft system (small UAS) means a small unmanned aircraft and its associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the small unmanned aircraft) that are required for the safe and efficient operation of the small unmanned aircraft in the national airspace system.
  • Unmanned aircraft means an aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

See Item 03OE-07-UPGD for accessories and upgrades.

Note:  Previous item 03OE-07-RPVS has been replaced by 03OE-07-ROVL (for land vehicles), 03OE-07-UMVS (for maritime systems), and 03OE-07-SUAS (for aircraft systems).

Grant Notes:

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones—are used across our Nation to support emergency incident situational awareness, to monitor and assess critical infrastructure, to provide disaster relief by transporting emergency medical supplies to remote locations, and to aid efforts to secure our borders.  However, UAS can also be used for malicious schemes by terrorists, criminal organizations (including transnational organizations), and lone actors with specific objectives.  Additional information on this subject is available on the Department of Homeland Security, Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website at:  https://www.dhs.gov/uas-law-enforcement and https://www.dhs.gov/publication/uas-fact-sheets.
This category allows for the purchase of special-purpose aviation equipment where: (a) such equipment will be utilized primarily for homeland security objectives and permissible program activities; and (b) the costs for operation and maintenance of such equipment will be paid from non-grant funds.  Allowable costs include the purchase of customary and specialized equipment necessary for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive materials (CBRNE) prevention, response, and/or recovery.  Recipients must obtain a waiver from FEMA by consulting with their Program Analyst and providing a detailed justification for obligating funds in this category and receiving approval to obligate funds.  The detailed justification must:


  1. Provide a complete description/specification(s) of the UAS to include, but not limited to, make, model, operating weight, and manufacturer’s country of origin;
  2. Justify the need for the UAS and how the requested platform best meets that need as compared to other options;
  3. Explain how the requested UAS fits into the State/Urban Area's integrated operational plans;
  4. Explain the types of terrorism prevention and incident response equipment with which the requested UAS will be outfitted;
  5. Describe how this UAS will be used operationally and which response assets will be deployed using the requested aircraft;
  6. Describe how this UAS will be utilized on a regular, non-emergency basis; and
  7. Certify that you have reviewed and understand the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CSIA), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Fact Sheets at https://www.dhs.gov/publication/uas-fact-sheets and DHS CISA, Chinese Manufactured Unmanned Aircraft Systems Industry Alert (updated and located on the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN)).

Additionally, pursuant to the February 20, 2015, Presidential Memorandum titled Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, recipients and subrecipients of Federal funding for the purpose or use of UAS of their own operations are required to have in place policies and procedures to safeguard individuals’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties prior to expending such funds for the use of UAS.  Policies and procedures must conform to the Presidential Memorandum and be included with the waiver request submission.  This requirement applies to the jurisdiction that will purchase, take title to, or otherwise use the UAS equipment.

Licensing, registration fees, insurance, and all ongoing operational expenses are the responsibility of the recipient or the local units of government and are not allowable under this grant.

FEMA Related Grant Programs:

  • State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)
  • Urban Areas Security Initiative Program (UASI)
  • Port Security Grant Program (PSGP)
  • Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP)
  • Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Program

Standardized Equipment List

For more information on operating considerations, mandatory and applicable standards, and training requirements, visit the Interagency Board’s Standardized Equipment List site. You may also access 03OE-07-SUAS - System, Small Unmanned Aircraft directly here. Note: some equipment items on the Authorized Equipment List maynot be listed on the Standardized Equipment List.

System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders

For market survey reports, visit the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders site. To search for an equipment item, use the same Authorized Equipment List item number. Note: some equipment items may not have market survey reports.

Last updated November 9, 2020