K-MAX to Stay In-Theater

After 485 sorties, Marines extend Afghanistan deployment of unmanned
cargo helicopter


K-MAX-unmanned_680x310 The Marine Corps recently announced a second extension of the K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter’s deployment in Afghanistan. K-MAX will now operate in-theater until March 30 of next year, with an option to keep the aircraft in theater until September, 2013.

The U.S. Marine Corps is moving forward with plans to keep K-MAX carrying cargo in Afghanistan, preliminarily approving a deployment extension of the aircraft. This spring, the Marine Corps extended the first deployment from May until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2012. On July 31, the Marine Corps announced a second extension, until March 30, 2013, with an option to keep the aircraft in theater until September 2013.

“K-MAX has proven its value as a reliable cargo resupply aircraft and an asset that saves lives,” said Vice Adm. David Architzel, commander of U.S. Naval Air Systems, which manages the K-MAX program with the Marine Corps. “The use of this aircraft eliminates the need for manned ground convoys, reducing the number of our warfighters exposed to improvised explosive devices.”

K-MAX will be among the highlighted products at Lockheed Martin’s booth at the Association of the Unmanned Vehicle Systems (AUVSI) North America 2012 show August 6-9 in Las Vegas.

K-MAX features Kaman’s proven high-altitude, heavy-lift K-1200 airframe and Lockheed Martin’s mission management and control systems, enabling autonomous flight in remote environments over large distances. The helicopter can fly at higher altitudes with a larger payload than any other rotary wing unmanned aerial system.

According to a July 23 article  on the Navy’s website to the Navy, the two K-MAX unmanned helicopters being tested in Afghanistan have accumulated 525 flight hours during 485 sorties, while handling as much as 4,500 pounds of cargo per mission.

 “The reliability of the KMAX was impressive,” said Maj. Kyle O’Connor, officer in charge of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 – one of two squadrons conducting the testing – in the article. “Since it was an unmanned system, we were able to conduct flights during inclement weather when other helicopters couldn’t fly. We flew during the night, in the rain, dust and some wind.”

K-MAX required fewer than two hours of maintenance per flight hour, which equates to a low cost, he added.

Posted on August 2, 2012

Check Out Lockheed Martin at AUVSI

Lockheed Martin will feature a number of its unmanned system products at the Association of the Unmanned Vehicle Systems (AUVSI) North America 2012 show August 6-9 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Lockheed Martin’s booth is 1654. Products featured include:

Media Contacts

Lockheed Martin MS2
Bettina H. Chavanne
(202) 510-7408

Kaman Aerospace Corporation
Terry Fogarty
(860) 243-7431