MARIGNANE, France, April 26 (UPI) -- Eurocopter's optionally piloted EC145, operating in unmanned mode, has successfully completed demonstration flights, the company said.
The flights were conducted at a French air force base and involved flights that included deployment of an external sling load and a representative observation mission.
"Eurocopter innovation is once again expanding the mission capabilities of helicopters, and we are ready to apply the proven optionally piloted vehicle competence in meeting customers' needs," said Eurocopter Chief Technical Officer Jean-Brice Dumont.
"This latest achievement results from our company's expertise in flight control and autopilot systems, human-machine interface, system architecture and integration."
Eurocopter said that, with the successful demonstrations Thursday and earlier in the month, it is ready to pursue OPV flight capabilities for its product line of light, medium- and heavy-lift helicopters.
Eurocopter developed the OPV program using its own funds and coordinated its work on the project in France with a company facility in Germany.
The EC145 demonstrator is a test bed helicopter with a dual-duplex, four-axis automatic flight control system, "plug-in" OPV avionics and data link subsystems.