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Due to the introduction of advanced mapping technologies and the requirement for highly precise geospatial data, the field of intelligence surveillance is undergoing a revolution. Currently, we are witnessing a trend that emphasizes different technological developments in the field of unmanned aerial vehicle systems, which is usually composed of unmanned aerial vehicles and their ground control system (UAS), promoting the integration of additional capabilities in unmanned aircraft, such as those that can land and take off from the sea when needed.

The VSR700 is an unmanned reconnaissance helicopter developed by Airbus Helicopters. The VSR700 took its first flight two years ago, and it has recently been tested for its capability for autonomous takeoff and landing (ATOL). A civilian vessel equipped with a helicopter landing deck and an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) equipped with the ATOL system participated in the flight tests conducted on the shores of Brest in northwest France.

About 150 autonomous operations were conducted in the exercise, which evaluated the performance of two ATOL models: a semi-autonomous model and an autonomous model, and assessed the VSR700’s approach procedures before landing on the vessel. Airbus VSR700 uses DeckFinder software to help assess, plan and execute autonomous landings and takeoffs on vessels in any weather.

Those tests, according to, are essential to a later this year organized exercise that will be conducted in collaboration with the French Navy and will confirm that the VSR700 is equipped for a broad range of naval operations.