On 19 October 2022, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) commenced flight operations using an MQ-9B SeaGuardian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI). The UAV will primarily perform Maritime Wide Area Search (MWAS) over the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. Other missions will include search and rescue, disaster response, and maritime law enforcement. The JCG is operating the SeaGuardian from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Air Station Hachinohe.
SeaGuardian features a maritime surface-search radar with an Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver, and HD video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras. This sensor suite enables detection and identification of surface vessels over thousands of square nautical miles and provides automatic tracking of maritime targets and correlation of AIS transmitters with radar tracks.