Airbus Helicopters VSR700 goes solo
In December Airbus Helicopters’ Cabri G2-based VSR700 unmanned helicopter demonstrator took off from the French military base at Istres on its first fully autonomous flight. Its purpose was to establish compliance with the demanding regulatory and safety systems necessary for future unmanned flight in France. Piloted and monitored from a ground station, it was airborne for thirty minutes during which it successfully flew a variety of flight patterns before landing in autonomous mode.
The VSR700 had been flying autonomously since May 2017, but always with a safety pilot aboard. ‘The diesel engine installed to meet naval and military requirements has been fine tuned during this period and the automatic flight control systems have been developed to meet the new regulatory standards,’ says Airbus. ‘This new critical operational capability is pursuing its development plan and 2019 will see the rollout of the prototype.’
The VSR700 is intended to serve as a light military tactical UAS, able to carry multiple payloads, with an endurance of around eight hours at a maximum range of 100nm. Designed to complement rather than replace manned helicopters, it will initially offer extended surveillance capabilities for naval vessels ranging from small corvettes to large warships.
Look, ma - no hands at the controls