Tokyo [Japan], October 15 (ANI): Days after two Chinese patrol ships illegally entered into Japan's territorial waters off Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, Japan Coast Guard began test flights of an unmanned aerial vehicle SeaGuardian to learn whether it can be utilised to carry out the coast guard's key duties, including search and rescue and maritime surveillance.
The flights, starting on Thursday, will be conducted off the coast of Sanriku in northeastern Japan, as well as along the coasts of the Sea of Japan. The tests will involve the use of the 12-meter-long, 24-meter-wide UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) developed by US defence firm General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, reported NHK World.
The aircraft will be based at the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Hachinohe base in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan and will either engage in pre-programmed flights or be remotely piloted from a ground control station.
The SeaGuardian is equipped with radars and high-definition cameras and is capable of flying for more than 24 hours nonstop. Hence, it will cover the outermost exclusive economic zone of Japan. It will test the real-time ending of data and images to the ground and the safety of the vehicle.
The coast guard is eager to step up its capabilities by considering the introduction of the UAV. It currently conducts search and rescue as well as maritime surveillance with 33 aircraft and 52 helicopters. The validation flights are scheduled to take place till November 10 at a cost of over 8.5 million dollars, reported NHK World.
Earlier, Japan on Wednesday had unveiled its newest submarine with the aim to boost the country's maritime security amid China's growing aggression in the region. (ANI)