BY COURTNEY E. HOWARD
OWEGO, N.Y.—The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, following the culmination of a five-day quick reaction assessment for the U.S. Navy’s cargo unmanned aircraft system (UAS) program, will deploy the unmanned K-MAX aircraft from Lockheed Martin Corp. and Kaman to Afghanistan. K-MAX reportedly will be the Navy’s first cargo unmanned aircraft system to deploy in an operational environment.
|The U.S. Navy is deploying the unmanned K-MAX aircraft from Lockheed Martin Corp. and Kaman to Afghanistan.|
Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force officials in Norfolk, Va., released a formal report confirming that the unmanned K-MAX exceeded Navy and Marines requirements to deliver 6,000 pounds of cargo per day. The deploying team—including active-duty mission commanders, air vehicle operators, and Lockheed Martin employees—have completed training and flight tests at its base in Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., and is preparing the aircraft for shipment into theater.
Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace partnered in 2007 to transform Kaman’s K-MAX power-lift manned helicopter into an unmanned aerial system (UAS) capable of autonomous or remote-controlled cargo delivery.
Kaman designed the K-MAX platform, and Lockheed Martin designed the helicopter’s mission management and control systems to provide the K-MAX with flight autonomy in remote environments and over long distances.