General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced on 7 July that the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) is to evaluate the company’s SeaGuardian remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) from mid-September.

Partnering with Asia Air Survey, GA-ASI will hold a series of validation flights aimed at proving the wide-area maritime surveillance capabilities of RPAS to fulfil JCG missions, including search and rescue, disaster response and maritime law enforcement. The flights are expected to run for approximately two months and will include support from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force.

According to the JCG, the flight validation will be conducted in accordance with newly established policy to strengthen maritime security systems by using UAS and new technologies to conduct maritime wide-area surveillance.

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 HD 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 featured Raytheon SeaVue surface-search radar system provides automatic tracking of maritime targets and correlation of AIS transmitters with radar tracks.

The SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian platform is revolutionizing the long-endurance RPAS market by providing true all-weather capability. The aircraft are built to achieve type certification based on STANAG (NATO standard) airworthiness compliance, a feature that. Alongside the operationally-proven collision-avoidance radar, enables flexible operations in civil airspace.

SeaGuardian will be evaluated for potential surveillance and monitoring operations with the Japan Coast Guard from September 2020. (Photo: GA-ASI)

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