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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) announced that the Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) concluded the first large-scale demonstration flights in Japan. The demonstration flights, which took place from May 10-23, 2018, were intended to promote the civil and scientific applications of the RPA.

“We thank the Mayor of Iki and the many other public and private stakeholders who made this demonstration possible,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “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.”

During the demonstration, which operated from the Island of Iki in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture, GA-ASI’s Guardian:

  • Successfully demonstrated utility in Humanitarian and Disaster Response by monitoring the volcano on Fugendake and tracking the spread of a small brush fire on Iki;
  • Monitored the environmental impact of overfishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ);
  • Provided overwatch support to the Japanese Fisheries Agency during routine patrols;
  • Demonstrated the utility of GA-ASI’s “Detect and Avoid” system, which ensured safe operational flight throughout Japanese airspace; and
  • Verified the Automatic Identification System (AIS) ability of SeaVue Radar, enabling rapid identification of ships at sea as a method of countering piracy and illegal fishing.

This was the first demonstration of a long-endurance RPA by a private company in Japan. The aircraft’s sensors included a long-range maritime surface-search radar, stabilized optical and infrared video cameras, and an active collision-avoidance system, including a short-range air-to-air radar.