Japan to develop sophisticated unmanned helicopters

The government will develop high-tech unmanned helicopters for searching operations in desaster areas, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. It is considering to put them into service by fiscal 2018, and encourage fire stations in big cities to procure by lending them for free.

The project was apparently planned, as the government learned a painful lesson from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The government had a hard time then to grasp tsunami damages. It hopes the helicopters will enable local governments to find those who need emergency assistance quickly.

The helicopters under study by The Fire Disaster Management Agency are around 1.5-meter long. They are expected to be effective against hazardous fire at industrial complexes, accidents of nuclear power plants and volcano eruptions.