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Japan Coast Guard selects MQ-9B SeaGuardian for RPAS operations

MQ-9B SeaGuardian for Japan
Photo: GA-ASI

The Japan Coast Guard has selected the GA-ASI-built MQ-9B SeaGuardian to begin Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) operations in October this year.

SeaGuardian will be used to conduct wide-area maritime surveillance to support JCG’s missions, which include search and rescue, disaster response, and maritime law enforcement.

This project follows a series of successful JCG flight trials in 2020 that used SeaGuardian to validate the same JCG missions in accordance with Japan’s “Policy on Strengthening the Maritime Security Systems,” using unmanned aerial vehicles to perform maritime wide-area surveillance.

According to the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), the SeaGuardian will operate from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Hachinohe Air Base in Aomori Prefecture.

“We’re proud to support the JCG’s maritime surveillance mission with our SeaGuardian UAS,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI. “The system’s ability to provide affordable, extremely long-endurance airborne surveillance with long-range sensors in the maritime domain is unprecedented.”

SeaGuardian features a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with an inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver, and optical and infrared cameras. This sensor suite enables real-time detection and identification of surface vessels over thousands of square nautical miles and provides automatic tracking of maritime targets and correlation of AIS transmitters with radar tracks.