Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 unmanned aerial
system has performed its first flight at a drone test centre near
Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.
The VSR700 performed several take-offs and
landings on 8 November, with the longest flight lasting
around 10 minutes.
In accordance with the airworthiness authority
that provided the flight clearance, the VSR700 was tethered with
30-metre cables to fully secure the flight test zone.
subsequent phases of the flight test programme will now evolve
towards free flight, and then progressively open the flight
“The VSR700 is a fully-fledged unmanned aerial
system, capitalising on Airbus Helicopters’ extensive experience
of advanced autopilot systems and engineering expertise to provide
modern militaries with new capabilities,” said Bruno Even, Airbus
Helicopters CEO. “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.”
derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal’s Cabri G2, is an unmanned
aerial system in the 500-1000 kg maximum take-off weight range. It is capable of carrying multiple full size
naval sensors for extended periods and can operate in existing
ships, alongside a helicopter, with a low logistical footprint.
The VSR700 prototype which has just performed its maiden
flight is a step change from the optionally piloted demonstrator
that first flew in 2017 and which was based on a modified Cabri G2
equipped for autonomous flight.
Compared to the demonstrator, the
VSR700 prototype has a specialized set of avionics and an advanced
flight control system, a payload bay in place of the pilot station
designed to manage mission equipment, as well as a sleeker, more
aerodynamic shape to improve flight performance.