TOKYO — On Feb. 19, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) said it had confirmed the effectiveness of a large unmanned airplane for which it conducted demonstration tests last year, saying, “It can be fully utilized for various maritime security operations.” The JCG will consider acquiring it with increased security measures near the Senkaku Islands, into whose waters China Coast Guard vessels have made repeated intrusions, in mind. The JCG notified [the confirmed effectiveness of the large unmanned airplane] to the ruling parties on the same day.
The demonstration tests were conducted during the period from Oct. 15 to Nov. 10 last year, with the airplane taking off and landing at the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Hachinohe air base. The SeaGuardian unmanned aircraft (MQ-9B) manufactured by the U.S.’s General Atomics is 11.7 meters in length and 24 meters in width.
The JCG says it confirmed the airplane’s navigation performance regardless of day or night for hours and found its surveillance capability was equivalent to or greater than that of existing manned aircraft.