MQ-9B SeaGuardian Drone to Carry Out Maritime Surveillance Missions in Japan

MQ-9B SeaGuardian 6 photos
Photo: General Atomics
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General Atomics (GA-ASI) announced that it will support Japan Coast Guard's Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) project. Later this year, the company's MQ-9B SeaGuardian unmanned aircraft will carry out wide-area maritime surveillance missions in Japan.
MQ-9B SeaGuardian is the marine counterpart of the SkyGuardian remotely piloted aircraft system. The drone is capable of staying in the air for up to 30 hours (depending on configuration) and operates in all weather conditions.

SeaGuardian is the first remotely piloted aircraft system in its class to offer real-time search and patrol above and below the ocean's surface. It has an advanced maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, including a sensor suite that allows it to track and detect surface vessels in real-time over long distances.

Additionally, the aircraft has an Electronic Support Measures (ESM) payload integrated into its winglets, which can detect, identify, and geolocate radio frequency emitters. It's also a key element in long-range surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

SeaGuardian has a range of 1,200 nautical miles (1,381 miles/ 2,222 km) in its standard marine configuration, making it a low-cost solution for operations and an ideal single platform that can be used in manned-unmanned teaming missions.

To support the Japan Coast Guard's missions, GA-ASI's drone will be used to perform wide-area maritime surveillance, such as "search and rescue, disaster response, and maritime law enforcement. "
This project builds on the Japan Coast Guard's successful flight trials conducted back in 2020, which involved an MQ-9B drone. The flight tests validated the aircraft's ability to perform maritime wide-area surveillance missions.

"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."

GA-ASI's MQ-9B SeaGuardian drone will begin operations in Japan in October 2022.
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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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