Airbus, Naval Group collaborate on RUAV project
Airbus Helicopters and Naval Group have been contracted by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to develop technologies for the integration of a rotary-wing UAV (RUAV) within a heavily-armed vessel.
The contract covers de-risking studies ahead of construction of a future tactical helicopter UAV demonstrator aboard warships. The demonstration project will lead to trials of the UAV launch system, mission system and airborne vehicle, to be conducted from a French naval vessel.
The contract forms part of the preparation of France’s navy airborne UAV system, SDAM, which is expected to enter into service in the middle of the next decade on new intermediate-size frigates and other French Navy ships.
Airbus Helicopters and Naval Group will jointly manage the project, which will also involve Hélicoptères Guimbal, Thales, Safran and ONERA.
Airbus Helicopters plans to conduct the first flight of its VSR700 RUAV in 2018. The 700kg RUAV is derived from the Cabri G2 light helicopter. In June 2017 flight testing of an unmanned Cabri G2 prototype began to validate the flight control system integration and engine system.
The VSR700 can exceed 10 flight hours of operational autonomy with a payload capacity of up to 150kg. The system will have automated flight control, an autonomous navigation system, secure data links, sensors including radar and optronic systems, complex mission systems and the certification of military aircraft.
Hervé Guillou, president and CEO of Naval Group, said: ‘We are proud to have been selected by the DGA together with our partner Airbus Helicopters to allow the French Navy to integrate UAV systems into its units and strengthen its operational capabilities.
‘This study also allows us to structure a world-leading industrial sector in this field. Naval Group thus confirms its capacity for innovation and technical mastery of naval systems and its role of whole warship architecture in the aero-naval domain.’
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