Airbus Helicopters and Naval Group, in collaboration with the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and the French Navy, tested the SDAM (Marine Aerial Drone System) demonstrator from a multi-mission frigate (FREMM). The trials took place aboard the French Navy frigate Provence in the Mediterranean between October 2 and 9.
The VRS700 tested in an operational environment…
A successful test in an operational environment, this is how the latest test of the VSR700 drone could be described. Airbus Helicopters and Naval Group, in collaboration with the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and the French Navy, tested the SDAM (Marine Aerial Drone System) demonstrator from a multi-mission frigate (FREMM). The trials took place aboard the French Navy frigate Provence in the Mediterranean between October 2 and 9, 2023. The ship had already been adapted by Naval Group to use SDAM. These sea trials were organized to demonstrate the high performance of the system from an operational warship and the capabilities of the SDAM for surveillance and intelligence missions.
…Operated from the frigate Fremm Provence
“SDAM and the VSR700 are coming of age,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “The system we will propose will be able to operate from a frigate and will be adapted to the naval missions for which it was designed,” he added. “We have reached a significant milestone in terms of the complexity of integrating an unmanned aerial system (UAS) on board a heavily armed vessel, both physically and operationally,” said Pierre-Eric Pommellet , CEO of Naval Group. “These trials also demonstrated the relevance of Naval Group’s I4Drones® mission system, and the fact that the SDAM demonstrator can be seamlessly integrated onto a ship and will work harmoniously with other existing systems. In synergy with the combat system of the ship and the on-board helicopter, the drone will be an additional means of accessing additional airspaces and will truly be a remote sensor which will broaden the perception and processing of threats in real time by the crew.
A program that combines several French companies
The SDAM program de-risking study was entrusted to Airbus Helicopters and Naval Group by the DGA. The objective is to design, produce and test an unmanned rotary wing aerial system demonstrator for the French Navy. The system works with Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 drone system and the I4Drones® mission system developed by Naval Group. Naval Group was also responsible for integrating the system on board military ships. The project also involves French SMEs such as Hélicoptères Guimbal and Diades, thus contributing to the creation of a local UAS naval industry in France.