The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) has placed an order for a second VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS) prototype.

Announced by French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, the order also includes eight additional H225M helicopters.

The VSR700 UAS is being developed in partnership with Naval Group within the frame of the Système de drone aérien de la Marine (SDAM) programme for the French Navy.

First prototype of the VSR700 UAS performed its maiden flight last year.

Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even said: “We are very thankful to the French government for their support of the aeronautical industry through the Stimulus plan. This is a win-win situation as the aircraft fulfil a real operational need for the French armed forces and this order allows Airbus Helicopters to secure jobs and key skills in the medium term.

“The VSR700 is also a crucial programme. It will provide the French Navy with a highly capable autonomous platform and it will pave the way for future unmanned systems within the Airbus Helicopters portfolio.”

The H225Ms, which are twin-engine helicopters, will be operated by the French Air and Space Force.

H225M is a member of the Cougar helicopter family developed by Eurocopter.

With over 104 helicopters in service and about 143,000 flight hours accumulated so far, the H225M is a combat-proven, versatile and reliable platform for worldwide military missions.

Even added: “The French Armed Forces are facing increasing and varied challenges and I am confident that the H225M, thanks to its excellent range and multirole capacity, will be an efficient and reliable asset that will enhance their operations at home and abroad.”