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Airbus Helicopters, DCNS team for future helicopter drone

Airbus Helicopters and DCNS are to design a future helicopter drone for the French navy.

By Richard Tomkins
Airbus Helicopters, DCNS team for future helicopter drone
A computer-generated image of te future VSR700 drone for the French navy. Image courtesy Airbus Helicopters

PARIS, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- French naval defense company DCNS and Airbus Helicopters are to pool their expertise to design a future helicopter drone system for the French navy.

The system will be developed around Airbus' VSR700 drone, utilizing various technologies needed for drones to perform aerial missions, such as data liaison, and payload capability.

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The VSR700 is derived from a light civil helicopter, the Cabri G2, designed by Hélicoptères Guimbal.

"Rotary-wing drones will play a crucial role in tomorrow's air/sea theaters of operation, performing the role of a roving eye and extending the coverage of surface vessels over the horizon," said Airbus Helicopters Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury. "This partnership will see Airbus Helicopters pool its expertise in vertical flight and autonomous flight technologies with the skills DCNS possesses in naval combat systems, allowing us to respond to the emerging needs of our customers."

Under the agreement, DCNS will be design and supply the entire warship-integrated VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) drone system. It will also produce the drone's mission system, enabling real-time management of the drone's operations and allow its payloads to be controlled through a combat management system.

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