Lockheed Martin and Kaman Helicopters announced that the K-Max unmanned helicopter has been selected for deployment to Afghanistan. The optionally piloted machine was evaluated with the Boeing A-160 Hummingbird for a U.S. Marine Corps requirement.
A formal U.S. Navy test report confirmed that the K-Max exceeded the requirement to deliver 6,000 pounds of cargo per day. “K-Max has the ability to deliver cargo quickly, thus getting troops off the roads and allowing them to focus on other missions,” said Rear Admiral Bill Shannon, program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons. The evaluation took place at the Marine Corps’ training grounds at Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif. It culminated in a five-day Quick Reaction Assessment.
Kaman designed the K-Max for underslung delivery of loads to or from remote locations, and it has typically been used in forestry timber extraction and fire-fighting operations. Lockheed Martin’s MS2 division in Owego, N.Y., designed the autonomous control and mission management system. The option for a pilot to fly the modified K-Max has been retained. A joint military-contractor team is now preparing the helicopter for shipment to the theater.