The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is considering purchasing the MQ-9B SeaGuardian drone manufactured by General Atomics.
The remotely-piloted aircraft system has been selected to undergo a trial later this year to assess its adaptability in supporting the country’s manned-unmanned teaming missions.
Its ability to reduce the JMSDF’s human dependency will also be evaluated during the event.
“We’re pleased to support the JMSDF’s trial operation with our SeaGuardian UAS,” company president David R. Alexander said. “We know there is a need in Japan and worldwide for affordable long-endurance airborne surveillance in the maritime domain.”
Before the JMSDF released its decision to trial the SeaGuardian, the Japanese Coast Guard had already selected the system to support its own drone project.
The naval version of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, the MQ-9B SeaGuardian features a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar for enhanced tracking of enemy objects.
It also has an inverse synthetic aperture radar imaging mode, an automatic identification system receiver, and a high-definition video sensor with advanced optical and infrared cameras.
The drone’s sensor suite allows for efficient, real-time detection and identification of surface vessels, even thousands of nautical miles away.
In addition to surveillance and reconnaissance, the SeaGuardian can support anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, over-the-horizon targeting, and search and rescue operations.
“The [SeaGuardian is] revolutionizing the long-endurance [remotely-piloted aircraft system] market by providing true all-weather capability and [is] built to achieve Type Certification based on [NATO standard] airworthiness compliance,” General Atomics said.