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Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma Chosen as Dept. of Homeland Security Test Site

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science &Technology (S&T) Directorate and the State of Oklahoma are partnering on the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) project to test and evaluate Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) for potential use by the first responder community and DHS operational components. SUAS include small aircraft (typically under 55 pounds and having wingspans of 3-6 feet or less) that are operated using a wireless ground control station (GCS). The aircraft are equipped with sensors and cameras that can capture images and transmit them to a ground control system to provide aerial views of emergency situations and situational awareness.

SUAS could be valuable tools for emergency responders for rapid response and gaining invaluable situational awareness before responding to and engaging in potentially dangerous operations. They could enable emergency responders to conduct more effective responses in critical operations, including: fire and wildfire response, natural and hazardous materials disaster evaluation and response, real-time law enforcement tactical operations support, and crime scene situational awareness. To assist emergency response agencies in the analysis and potential acquisition of these tools, the DHS S&T Borders and Maritime Security Division (BMD) is conducting the RAPS test project, which tests and evaluates current SUAS platforms available to the first responder and homeland security operational communities. The tests will examine SUAS capabilities, effectiveness, and utility in helping first responders and their operations. Users may then use the published test results to support future decisions on acquisition and deployment of the systems.