Airbus completes VSR700 unmanned test flights


Airbus Helicopters has completed the first fully-autonomous flight of the demonstrator VSR700.

The unmanned aircraft took its test flight on the 20December at the military airbase in Istres in the South of France. The flight was taken to establish compliance with regulatory and safety systems necessary for future unmanned flights in France.

The VSR700 is a light military unmanned aircraft designed to carry payloads of approximately 250kg with an endurance of eight hours and 100 nautical miles. The helicopter is designed for surveillance capabilities – allowing militaries to save manned helicopters for critical missions.

The aircraft performed a 30-minute test flight, executing a variety of flight patterns before landing – all piloted from a ground station at the Istres base.

VSR700 has flown autonomously since May 2017 with a safety pilot – this is the first time it has flown fully-unmanned.

The VSR700 promises low operational costs as it is built off the Cabri G2 platform with a low-consumption diesel engine. Airbus promises a new prototype will be developed and rolled-out in 2019.

The aircraft was first revealed in 2017 and is a 700kg lift capability variant of the Vertivision Surveillance Rotorcraft drone.