General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a global leader in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), announced today that they will partner with Asia Air Survey (AAS) to hold a series of validation flights for the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) featuring GA-ASI’s SeaGuardian beginning in mid-September. The flights are expected to run for approximately two months and will include support from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) at its Hachinohe base in Aomori Prefecture. The purpose of the flights is to validate the wide-area maritime surveillance capabilities of RPAS for carrying out JCG’s missions, including search and rescue, disaster response, and maritime law enforcement.
According to the JCG, the flight validation will be conducted in accordance with “The Policy on Strengthening the Maritime Security Systems,” using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to perform maritime wide-area surveillance using new technology. The SeaGuardian system will feature a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver, and High-Definition – Full-Motion Video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras. This sensor suite enables real-time detection and identification of surface vessels over thousands of square nautical miles.
The MQ-9B SeaGuardian is being built from the ground up to meet global airworthiness standards. Both hardware and software upgrades will be made, such as improved structural fatigue and damage tolerance and more robust flight control software, as well as enhancements allowing operations in adverse weather including icing conditions. Additionally, the aircraft will be designed to survive bird and lightning strikes. The aircraft is capable of carrying multiple mission payloads and includes a state-of-the art Detect and Avoid (DAA) system including space, weight, and power provisions to enable the retrofitting of an airborne Due Regard Radar (DRR) for operation in non-cooperative airspace.
SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian are revolutionizing the long-endurance RPAS market by providing true all-weather capability and are built to achieve Type Certification based on STANAG (NATO standard) airworthiness compliance. This feature, along with its operationally proven, collision-avoidance radar, enables flexible operations in civil airspace. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar.