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  4. Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Science and Technology Directorate’s Joint Unmanned Systems Testing in Collaborative Environment (Project JUSTICE) at Mississippi State University Raspet Flight Center

Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Science and Technology Directorate’s Joint Unmanned Systems Testing in Collaborative Environment (Project JUSTICE) at Mississippi State University Raspet Flight Center in Oktibbeha County, MS; Camp Shelby, Perry County, MS; and Singing River Island, Pascagoula County, MS.

DHS S&T has developed and administers Project JUSTICE UAS mission-related testing and evaluation activities. Project JUSTICE supports homeland security operations and training by providing UAS flight and exercise support facilities needed for the research, development, test, evaluation, and training (project activities) of UAS in a variety of applications and scenarios.
Under the Proposed Action, DHS would continue implementing Project JUSTICE activities at Camp Shelby and proposed new UAS project activities at Mississippi State University (MSU) Raspet and Singing River Island. The Proposed Action is expected to continue through 2021, with an option for extension through 2024.

Project JUSTICE training exercises may include both UAS and small UAS (sUAS). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses the term sUAS to categorize UAS weighting less than 55 pounds at takeoff and conducting non-recreational operations. Project JUSTICE activities may also involve UAS up to, but not exceeding, 100 pounds.

Project JUSTICE may test and evaluate both fixed wing and rotary aircraft. UAS may be launched remotely or with human assistance (such as propelling a fixed-wing UAS into the air). All UAS are powered by on-board batteries and are flown manually and in the line-of-sight of the operator. UAS are not operated autonomously (i.e., controlled by artificial intelligence software). Project JUSTICE includes a maritime search and rescue program, implemented at Singing River Island. Project JUSTICE maritime search and rescue exercises would not limit, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with commercial or recreational boating in any way, because they occur close to shore and outside of navigation channels. As warranted, maritime exercises are coordinated in advance of all Project JUSTICE project activities with cooperation from the U.S. Coast Guard.

A total of 12 Project JUSTICE test events are planned to occur each year, with one exercise typically occurring each calendar month of the year at one of the three locations. Concurrent project activities at two or more locations are not planned. Each training event lasts less than five consecutive days. All project activities are conducted during weekdays and during daylight hours. Approximately 10-20 participants attend each event, typically with 6-8 participants from each participating organization (MSU, DHS and other government agencies, and UAS vendors).

The maximum altitude that UAS fly during Project JUSTICE activities is highly variable and primarily depends on the type of UAS being tested and the location of the operation. To date, the maximum altitude observed during Project JUSTICE activities is 400-feet above ground level (AGL). However, altitudes up to 6,000-feet AGL are accessible/attainable if needed for Project JUSTICE UAS evaluation operations.

Project JUSTICE test and evaluation scenarios have been developed in conjunction with MSU Raspet Flight Research Laboratory to research, develop, test, and evaluate third-party vendor UAS.

Attachment Ext. Size Date
DHS Project JUSTICE Final Environmental Assessment PDF 2.23 MB 05/16/2021
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), Joint Unmanned Systems Testing in Collaborative Equipment (Project JUSTICE), Multiple PDF 186.38 KB 05/20/2021
Last Updated: 11/12/2021
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