Different Terminologies – Drone, UAV, UAS, RPA or RPAS


  1. UAV – UAV is the acronym of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is the most frequent term. It is used to define the flying object employed for recreational and professional civilian applications.
  2. DRONE is mostly the French way by being the world pioneer in the creation and implementation of regulations for the use of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles, the French Directorate for Civil Aviation (DGAC) is referring to them as drones.
  3. RPAS, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. The term RPAS appears to be the preferred terminology used by the international aviation-related agencies like the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Eurocontrol, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA – Australia), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA – New Zealand) and the BeUAS are following this trend.
  4. UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System), is mostly the Anglo-Saxon exception. The terms Unmanned Aircraft (UA) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) are used to describe the aircraft itself, whereas the term Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is generally used to describe the entire operating equipment including the aircraft, the control station from where the aircraft is operated and the wireless data link.Drone, UAV Services in Nigeria

This UAS terminology is also exploited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA – United States), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVSA).

  1. MAV (Micro Air Vehicle), sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft System) and UAV weight classifications

A general weight naming classification also exists for unmanned air vehicles UAVs. So following their mass, different names are used for UAVs:

MAV (Micro Air Vehicle): for UAVs having a mass of less than 1g

sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft System): used for UAVs weighing less than 25Kg.

UAV: is then used for unmanned aircraft with a weight of more than 25Kgs


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