As Yahoo News Japan reported on April 1, the Japan Coast Guard will deploy the US-built unmanned aerial vehicle, MQ-9B “SeaGuardian,” to improve monitoring of illegal fishing boats and suspicious vessels such as those from China.
The SeaGuardian, a 12-meter-long drone, is equipped with radars and a high-definition camera. It is capable of flying for more than 24 hours nonstop. Hence, it will cover the furthest reaches of the country’s exclusive economic zone in a single flight.
SeaGuardian will be based at the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force’s base in Aomori Prefecture, and is scheduled to begin operation in October of this year.
The Japan Coast Guard has allocated a budget of 4 billion yen (about 32 million dollars) for this unmanned aircraft.