French government and Airbus test uncrewed helicopter
Airbus Helicopters and the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) has tested the VSR700 uncrewed helicopter from a ship at sea
The tests, carried out at the beginning of May, involved the performance of 80 fully autonomous take-offs and landings from a civilian vessel equipped with a helicopter deck, while cruising off the coast of Brittany.
According to Nicolas Delmas, Head of VSR700 Programme at Airbus Helicopters: “This flight test campaign was an important step for the VSR700 programme as it allowed us to validate the excellent performance of the drone in operational conditions representative of its future missions.”
He added that the VSR700 prototype opened its flight envelope in winds above 40 knots, accumulated eight hours of testing in 14 flights, and made successful landings in several different sea states.”
This latest test campaign follows two series of trial flights conducted in late 2022 and early 2023 in the south of France, which tested the handling qualities of the aircraft, as well as the capabilities of its sensors. The company also previously tested the system using a modified Guimbal Cabri G2 light helicopter in early 2022.
The next development step for the VSR700 will see a second prototype undergo its maiden flight during the second half of this year, onboard a French naval frigate.
The completed VSR700 system is ultimately intended to offer an uncrewed aerial systems alternative to crewed helicopters for use in search and rescue, maritime security, and anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare operations.