GA-ASI To Demonstrate Large RPA in Japan

Flights Will Be Conducted in Cooperation with Iki City, Nagasaki Prefecture

TOKYO – 17 April 2018 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a global leader in Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), announced today that it will conduct maritime surveillance flight demonstrations in May 2018 using the GA-ASI manufactured MQ-9 Guardian RPA. The Guardian will collect data and conduct scientific research while operating from the island of Iki, in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture. This will be the first demonstration of a long endurance RPA by a private company in Japan. 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. This configuration is similar to that operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland security over the maritime approaches to the U.S.

The demonstrations will consist of approximately ten five-hour sorties over a three week period, originating out of Iki Airport. The Guardian system will demonstrate various missions, including:

  • Meteorological, disaster-relief and oceanic observations
  • Marine accidents and rescue support
  • Air space management and support of communications.

"We thank the Mayor of Iki and the many other public and private stakeholders for their cooperation,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “We have been planning and coordinating this project for more than two years, and expect that the information gathered during our demonstration flights will contribute significantly to Japan’s scientific and maritime resource management community.”

GA-ASI will lead the demonstrations in cooperation with Iki Airport personnel and Japanese national authorities. The sensor data collected by Guardian will be provided to scientific research institutions, and flight data will be given to airspace management organizations to help establish procedures for using RPA systems in national and international civil airspace.

GA-ASI will send its own team of experienced RPA pilots, sensor operators, and maintenance personnel to Japan to ensure safe operations during all phases of the demonstration.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems. With more than 5 million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, multi-mission capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight, enabling situational awareness. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. For more information, visit

For more information contact:

Melissa Haynes 
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. 
+1 (858) 524-8108


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