VSR700 prototype flies in France
Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 UAS prototype has flown for the first time at a test centre near Aix-en-Provence in France, the company announced on 12 November.
The tests, conducted on 8 November, saw the VSR700 perform several take-offs and landings with the longest flight lasting around ten minutes.
The VSR700 was tethered with 30-metre cables to secure the flight test zone in accordance with the airworthiness authority that provided the flight clearance. Subsequent phases of the flight test programme will now evolve towards free flight, and then progressively open the flight envelope.
The VSR700 is derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal’s Cabri G2. The UAS will have a 500-1000kg maximum take-off weight, and will be capable of carrying multiple full size naval sensors for extended periods for operation from ships as a complement to manned helicopters.
The VSR700 prototype has a specialised set of avionics and an advanced flight control system, a payload bay in place of the pilot station to manage mission equipment, and a sleek, aerodynamic shape for advanced flight performance.
Bruno Even, CEO, Airbus Helicopters, said: ‘The VSR700 is a fully-fledged UAS, capitalising on Airbus Helicopters’ extensive experience of advanced autopilot systems and engineering expertise to provide modern militaries with new capabilities.
‘This first flight of the VSR700 prototype is a major milestone for the programme as we make progress on the operational demonstrator for the French Navy that will perform trials in 2021 in partnership with Naval Group.’
More from Uncrewed Vehicles
UK flight test sees largest unmanned aircraft take off from a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.
CATIC have displayed its new AR-2000 drone at Dubai Airshow 2023, emphasising ship-based capabilities with PLA already purchasing.
Australia has ordered four Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAS which can operate as an uncrewed maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) alongside the country’s in-service Boeing P-8A MPA fleet.
The Khronos tethered UAS has been designed to be simple to use and has drawn on Elistair’s experience with hundreds of existing customers.
The use of long-duration Uncrewed Surface Vehicles for maritime surveillance and monitoring has become part of the fleet inventory as navies try to reduce the level of effort required to gather intelligence on areas of interest.
A growing number of uncrewed systems have been on show at Sydney's Indo-Pacific Maritime exhibition with a select few currently being trialled to see if they can enhance the Royal Australian Navy's surveillance levels.