The Airbus Helicopters VSR700 demonstrator took off for a fully unmanned autonomous flight in the south of France to highlight the growing capability of unmanned aerial systems technology to be transferred to traditional platforms.
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During the exercise, the demonstrator performed a 30-minute flight successfully executing a variety of flight patterns before landing in an autonomous mode. The unmanned air vehicle was piloted and monitored from the ground station located at the Istres airbase in the south of France.
The VSR700 demonstrator has been flying autonomously since May 2017 with a safety pilot as part of its development program. The diesel engine installed to meet naval and military requirements has been fine tuned during this period and the automatic flight control systems have been developed to meet the new regulatory standards.
This new critical operational capability is pursuing its development plan and 2019 will see the roll-out of the prototype. The VSR700 is a light military tactical UAS able to carry multiple payloads, with an endurance of around eight hours at 100 nautical miles.
The system will initially offer extended surveillance capabilities for navies, allowing them to preserve manned helicopter flights for critical missions. Users will benefit from the system’s low operational cost thanks to its proven civil certified Cabri G2 platform and its low consumption diesel engine.
The VSR700 platform is designed to complement manned helicopters, without replacing them, on ships ranging from small corvettes to major warships.