VSR700 prototype performs first autonomous free flight – Drones Information
The prototype of the Airbus Helicopters VSR700 (UAS) unmanned aerial vehicle system performed its first free flight. The VSR700 performed a ten-minute flight at a drone test center near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.
This is an important step in the program after the first flight in November 2019, when the prototype was linked to the legal requirements. To enable this free flight, Airbus Helicopters implemented geofencing, a virtual perimeter that enabled and justified a flight approval by the airworthiness authorities for free flight. The flight test program is now being developed to gradually open the flight envelope.
“The free flight achieved with the VSR700 is an important step in the run-up to the sea trials that will be conducted in late 2021 as part of risk reduction studies for the future navy drone,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “Thanks to the French PlanAero, the program makes full use of two demonstrators and an optionally piloted vehicle to develop and develop the technical and operational aspects for successful UAS operations in a marine environment.”
The VSR700, which is derived from the Cabri G2 from Hélicoptères Guimbal, is an unmanned antenna system with a maximum takeoff weight range of 500 to 1000 kg. It offers the best balance between payload capacity, endurance and operating costs. It is able to transport several full-size marine sensors over longer periods of time and can be operated by existing ships in addition to a helicopter with a small logistical space requirement.
This VSR700 prototype has evolved over the past nine months since its maiden flight. The program implemented the geofencing function and a flight termination system with which the mission can be ended if necessary. Changes were also made to the aircraft, as were developments and updates to the autopilot software, as well as structural changes and reinforcements.
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