France has conducted another maritime trial of its VSR700 helicopter drone, this time featuring its full operational configuration.
According to manufacturers Airbus Helicopters and the French defense procurement agency, the unmanned system performed 80 autonomous take-offs and landings at the helicopter deck of a civil vessel.
The ship was cruising off the coast of western France when the activity was being held.
Airbus official Nicolas Delmas said that the flight test is an important step in validating the drone’s performance in operational conditions.
He further stated that the VSR700 endured winds above 40 knots (74 kilometers/46 miles per hour) and made successful landings in different sea states.
Additionally, the system accumulated eight hours of flight time during the latest test.
The latest test follows a series of trials conducted by Airbus and the defense procurement agency in 2022 and early 2023.
In one of those activities, the autonomous take-off and landing capabilities of the drone were tested using an optionally piloted vehicle.
A modified Guimbal Cabri G2 was equipped with VSR700’s autonomous take-off and landing system to assess if it could withstand sea-related challenges.
Earlier this year, a VSR700 tactical drone demonstrator underwent a flight capability test to evaluate its maritime surveillance radar, electro-optical sensor, and other components.
The VSR700 is a multi-mission naval unmanned aerial system designed to meet the demanding requirements of the military in a modern and highly-contested maritime environment.
It can operate alongside other shipborne assets, providing commanders with a larger and clearer tactical picture of the surroundings.
Its compact size accommodates a wide variety of payloads, including long-range, high-performance sensors.
The drone is also equipped with Airbus’ DeckFinder system, enhancing its autonomous take-off and landing capabilities even in harsh environmental conditions.