DHS Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety Request for Information

The following request for information was released this week by the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS Request for Information Number: DHS 13-01

  • 6 pages
  • September 24, 2012


The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is the Department’s primary research and development arm. The S&T Directorate provides federal, state and local officials with the technology and capabilities to protect the homeland. The Directorate’s mission is to protect the homeland by providing Federal and local officials with state-of-the-art technology and other resources. The Borders and Maritime Security Division (BMD) in S&T supports this mission by developing and transitioning technical capabilities that enhance U.S. border security without impeding commerce and travel.

In support of this mission, BMD will conduct flight testing and evaluation of airborne sensors and small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) for transition to its customers. The Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) project will invite SUAS vendors to a chosen location and evaluate each system using key performance parameters under a wide variety of simulated but realistic and relevant real-world operational scenarios, such as law enforcement operations, search and rescue, and fire and hazardous material spill response. The SUAS vendors will provide technically mature, flight proven vehicles and their fully-integrated sensors for evaluation. Safety concerns will also be assessed such as the aircraft’s capability for safe flight in the event of a loss of communications between the aircraft and the ground controller.


The goal of this RFI is to solicit participation in the RAPS project from the SUAS vendor community (“SUAS providers”). S&T is completing an agreement with the state of Oklahoma for utilizing the U.S. Army’s Fort Sill test range for ongoing SUAS evaluation. The range will provide restricted airspace for unimpeded access for SUAS flight in addition to various environs for simulating realistic first responder, law enforcement and border security scenarios.

The SUAS providers are asked to submit a white paper describing the capabilities, maturity, flight experience, and safety performance of each platform. Each SUAS provider, if chosen for the RAPS project, will be provided a test plan and assigned five (5) consecutive flight days in advance of their systems’ evaluation by S&T. The test plan provided will be the same for all SUAS providers, and range support and airspace access will be provided at cost to S&T. Travel and other associated expenses will be incurred by the SUAS provider.

During each flight test, the systems will be subject to an evaluation against the given parameters and will result in a report detailing its performance. The information within each test report will be classified as For Official Use Only, and will not be shared with the general public. All company-restricted information will remain proprietary to the SUAS provider, and not shared publicly without explicit consent.

Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) associated with the SUAS, in terms of Threshold (minimum) and Objective (preferred), are:


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