A demonstration of the civil applications of a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) Guardian remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) took place in Japan from May 10-23.
The Guardian, an MQ-9B Predator B modified with a SeaVue maritime search radar and a due-regard system, was based at Iki island in Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture. The demonstration included Humanitarian and Disaster Response (HADR) missions, monitored an active volcano, and tracked a bushfire.
It also conducted environmental impact studies of fishing, provided overwatch to Japanese Fisheries Agency patrols, and saw the ability of the SeaVue radar to verify Automatic Identification System (AIS) data and thus enable the identification of ships at sea.
“We thank the Mayor of Iki and the many other public and private stakeholders who made this demonstration possible,” CEO of GA-ASI, Linden Blue said in a statement. “We believe that the flights of long-endurance RPAs in Japan’s maritime environment yielded valuable information, and we now begin the process of reviewing the important data gathered from these flights.”
GA-ASI says the demonstration was the first of a long-endurance RPA by a private company in Japan, and was conducted by company RPA pilots, sensor operators and maintenance personnel, in conjunction with Iki Airport personnel and the Japanese government.