Airbus Helicopters VSR700 flies unmanned
Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 demonstrator UAS completed a fully unmanned autonomous flight at the military airbase in Istres in the south of France in December.
During the flight, the demonstrator performed a 30-minute flight successfully executing a variety of flight patterns before landing in an autonomous mode. The UAS was piloted and monitored from the ground station located at the base.
The purpose of the flight was to establish compliance with the demanding regulatory and safety systems necessary for future unmanned flight in France.
The VSR700, a light military tactical UAS, has an endurance of around eight hours at 100NM and is able to carry multiple payloads. The system will initially offer extended surveillance capabilities for navies, allowing them to preserve manned helicopter flights for critical missions.
The VSR700 is derived from the Cabri G2 light helicopter and has a low consumption diesel engine. It is designed to complement manned helicopters, without replacing them, on ships ranging from small corvettes to major warships.
As a part of its development programme, the VSR700 demonstrator has been flying since May 2017 with a safety pilot. The diesel engine, installed to meet naval and military requirements, has been modified during this period and the automatic flight control systems have been developed to meet new regulatory standards.
Rollout of the prototype is expected in 2019.
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