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VSR700 prototype performs first autonomous free flight

By Eric Van Rees - 29th July 2020 - 08:00

The prototype of Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS) has performed its first free flight.

The VSR700 performed a ten minute flight at a drone test centre near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.

This is a significant step in the programme following the first flight in November 2019 when the prototype was tethered to comply with regulatory requirements. To enable this free flight, Airbus Helicopters implemented geofencing, a virtual perimeter, which enabled and justified a flight clearance from airworthiness authorities for free flight. The flight test programme will now evolve to progressively open the flight envelope.

“The free flight achieved by the VSR700 is a major step leading up to the sea trials that will be performed at the end of 2021 as part of the de-risking studies for the French Navy’s future drone,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “Thanks to the French PlanAero, the programme will make full use of two demonstrators and an optionally piloted vehicle to develop and mature the technical and operational aspects for successful UAS operations in a naval environment.”

Read More: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Defence Military

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