GA-ASI Announces Japanese Collaboration at Japan Drone

SAN DIEGO/TOKYO  23 March 2017 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced during a briefing at the Japan Drone expo in Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan, that it has executed a research collaboration agreement with a consortium of Japanese industry, government, and academia groups to accelerate operational approval for Medium-altitude Long-endurance (MALE) RPA to fly in non-segregated Japanese civil airspace.

“The expertise arising from this collaboration in air traffic control, communications technology, and operations will help drive our efforts to validate Japanese airspace integration concepts for our Guardian aircraft and other RPA,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “Local partnerships and their contributions in gaining RPA acceptance in Japanese civil airspace is the first major step in validating these concepts.”

The partnership seeks to establish the first civil MALE RPA flight approval in Japan and examine its utility for public and commercial operations. As a nation surrounded by sea and frequently impacted by natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons, Japan is a country in strong need of resilient situational awareness and communication capabilities. RPA such as Guardian are expected to play a critical role in fulfilling these needs.

“We believe that it’s important to explore a framework that will allow the full potential of RPA efficacy on missions to be maximized so that it can contribute to humanitarian efforts such as disaster relief and border protection to support Japan’s social priorities,” said Nobuyuki Otsubo, director of strategic development, GA-ASI.

GA-ASI’s briefing at Japan Drone highlighted Japan’s significant need for surveillance of the area around Japan. Japan Coast Guard, for example, has an area 12 times the size of Japan that it is responsible for. This area includes coverage of exclusive economic zones, search and rescue, and immediate disaster relief. Guardian is an aircraft specifically designed to provide the kind of coverage and information that is critical for Japan today. It represents a multi-agency solution for a multi-domain challenge. GA-ASI is working with several agencies in Japan to be able to perform a demonstration of its technology later this year.

The long-term goal of this collaboration is to fly the GA-ASI-designed Guardian in non-segregated Japanese airspace and to expand the RPA’s mission capabilities. Currently, RPA airspace regulations do not exist in Japan, and this new partnership will strive to become the pathfinder program in doing so.


About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing remotely piloted aircraft systems, radar, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems business unit is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, including Predator® A, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper® and Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Extended Range (ER), Gray Eagle and Gray Eagle ER, Predator C Avenger® and Avenger ER, Predator XP, and SkyGuardianTM and SeaGuardianTM. It also manufactures a variety of solid-state digital GCS, including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations. The Mission Systems business unit designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar and sophisticated Claw® sensor control and image analysis software into both manned and remotely piloted aircraft. It also focuses on providing integrated sensor payloads and software for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft platforms and develops high energy lasers, electro-optic sensors, and meta-material antennas. For more information, please visit

Predator, Reaper, Avenger, Lynx, and Claw are registered trademarks and SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian are trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

For more information contact:

Melissa Haynes 
 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. 
 +1 (858) 524-8101


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