The VSR700 optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) demonstrator F-WVSR has undertaken its first autonomous flights. This aircraft is under joint development by Airbus Helicopters and Hélicoptères Guimbal, which manufactures the civil-certified Cabri G2 helicopter from which the VSR700 is derived.
Initial flight trials will focus on refining the OPV’s automatic flight control system. Tests to assess the VSR700’s flight envelope for shipborne operations recently took place with a Marine Nationale (French Navy) air defence frigate using a manned Cabri G2. All the trials pave the way for a first flight of the full VSR700 OPV prototype in 2018. The VSR700 is being designed as a light military rotary-wing tactical UAV for shipborne operations and to conduct land-based ISTAR. It will have a maximum payload capacity of up to 250kg (551lb) and more than ten hours’ endurance.