The Airbus Helicopters VSR700 demonstrator took off for a fully unmanned autonomous flight at the military airbase in Istres in the south of France. The purpose of the flight was to establish compliance with the demanding regulatory and safety systems necessary for future unmanned flight in France. During the exercise the demonstrator performed a 30 minute flight successfully executing a variety of flight patterns before landing in an autonomous mode. The unmanned air vehicle was piloted and monitored from the ground station located at the base.
The VSR700 demonstrator has been flying autonomously since May 2017 with a safety pilot as part of its development programme. The diesel engine installed to meet naval and military requirements has been fine tuned during this period and the automatic flight control systems have been developed to meet the new regulatory standards. This new critical operational capability is pursuing its development plan and 2019 will see the rollout of the prototype.