Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 Prototype Performs Its First Autonomous Free Flight

Date: Issue 100 - August 2020

Airbus Helicopters issued a press release on July 28, 2020, stating that the VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS) prototype has performed its first autonomous free flight. Lasting for ten minutes, the flight took place at a drone test center near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France and represents a significant advance from its maiden flight, during which the UAS was tethered to comply with regulatory requirements.

Derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal's Cabri G2, the VSR700 is an unmanned aerial system in the 500-1000 kg maximum take-off weight range. The system is designed to fulfill the demanding requirements of global navies and those of armies in the 21st century's contested and highly agile battlefields and seas. VSR700's performance enables it to carry full-size, high capability naval sensors equal in quality to those carried by naval helicopters, with the ability to target contacts if needed or survey them for extended periods. It can operate from existing ships with a low logistical footprint while providing multiple options for its assets (i.e., ASW helicopter plus several VSR700s) stationed onboard frigates and destroyers.