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VSR700 autonomous take-off and landing capabilities tested at sea

Trials to prove VSR700 ATOL functionality have been conducted using an optionally piloted Cabri G2 light helicopter. (Airbus Helicopters)

Airbus Helicopters has undertaken at-sea testing of the autonomous take-off and landing (ATOL) system developed for the VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS), paving the way for follow-on tests with a French Navy frigate.

Trials were conducted using an optionally piloted vehicle – a modified Hélicoptères Guimbal Cabri G2 light helicopter equipped with the same ATOL functionality.

Based on the civil-certified Cabri G2 two-seat helicopter, the VSR700 is a 700 kg multi-payload tactical UAS designed to offer an endurance of around eight hours at 100 n miles. The system is being developed by Airbus, in conjunction with Naval Group, under the Système de Drone Aérien pour la Marine (SDAM) programme to meet the French Navy's requirement for a maritime tactical UAS to operate from its new Amiral Ronarc'h-class frigates.

The VSR700 uses the Airbus DeckFinder local positioning system to enable autonomous ship deck take-off and landings in all weather conditions, day or night. Developed by Airbus, DeckFinder transmits the platform's position in real time to the vehicle's automatic pilot with a very high level of accuracy, superior to that achievable by GPS.

Flight testing using the optionally piloted vehicle was conducted earlier this month off the coast of Brest used the civilian-owned vessel VN Partisan . Owned and operated by Seaowl, VN Partisan is used as a training platform and features a fully equipped flight deck.

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