Office of Research New Drone Prohibitions for Federal Grants - Office of Research

New Drone Prohibitions for Federal Grants

New Drone Prohibitions for Federal Grants

January 23, 2024

The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2024 includes new prohibitions for drone use in federally funded projects. The use of federal funds awarded through contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements to purchase and operate foreign, commercial off-the-shelf drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufactured or assembled in “covered” countries, or those the U.S. views as hostile, is prohibited starting in December 2025, through December 2028.

What does this mean?

Entitled the American Security Drone Act, the government is prohibiting using federal funds to purchase drones made in China or certain other “covered” countries, such as Russia. This means that purchase or use of some of the most popular manufactured drones on the market, from manufacturers DJI or Autel, are prohibited starting in December of 2025 on federally funded awards. This also means the phase-out of any existing drones manufactured in China on any federally funded project within two years. Projects funded with non-Federal sources are not affected by this legislation.

Do I need to do anything right away?

There is no need to immediately switch and disrupt your existing projects, but if you have any federal grants that extend into 2026, you may want to connect with your project manager to discuss switching drones.

For help determining if your drone will be prohibited on a federally funded project starting in 2026, please contact Alaisha M. Hellman, Director of the Research Ethics and Compliance at [email protected].

Drone users should also note that RemoteID regulations go into effect March 16, 2024. While most of the newer drones are already compliant, some commonly used models will need a RemoteID add-on module. For recommendations of Remote ID modules, please refer to the UC drone site:

For more information on the UC Davis UAS flight operations approval process, please visit

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