General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has announced the first flight of the Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) in Japan, the first demonstration of a long endurance RPA by a private company in the country, during an opening ceremony on Iki Island.
The demonstration flights, taking place over the next three weeks, intend to promote the civil and scientific applications of the RPA. Although the aircraft configuration is capable of more than 20 hours endurance in a single sortie, the demonstration flights will consist of approximately 10 five-hour sorties. ‘
The Guardian system will demonstrate various missions, such as meteorological, disaster-relief and oceanic observations, marine accidents and rescue support, as well as air space management and support of communications.
“We believe that these flights of long-endurance RPAs in Japan’s maritime environment will provide valuable information, and we look forward to reviewing the important data gathered from these flights,” said Linden Blue, CEO GA-ASI.
“The demonstration is an important milestone for the many peaceful uses of RPAs, including maritime disaster security and maritime resource management,” said Iki Island Mayor Shirakawa, in qa statement. “Iki is located near the boundaries of Japan, so surveillance capabilities are an important matter for us. Furthermore, holding the nation’s first demonstration of this kind has great economic significance for our island.”
The Guardian will collect data for scientific research that will be shared across multiple government agencies, while operating from the island of Iki, in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture. The aircraft’s sensors include a long-range maritime surface-search radar, stabilized optical and infrared video cameras, and an active collision-avoidance system, which includes a short range air-to-air radar.