Flying Even Longer, Farther

Auxiliary fuel tanks extend range of K-MAX unmanned cargo re-supply helicopter

K-MAX K-MAX can fly day or night and at higher altitudes with a larger payload than any other rotary wing unmanned aerial system, and with its four-hook carousel, K-MAX can also supply multiple locations in one flight.

Since being deployed in November 2011, the K-MAX unmanned cargo re-supply helicopter has removed more than 600 convoy vehicles from the roads of Afghanistan. Without K-MAX, these vehicles would have had to transport supplies to the service men and women serving in the remote regions of the war-torn country. Now, the Lockheed Martin team is extending the reach of K-MAX in-theater.

The two K-MAX helicopters currently in Afghanistan were recently upgraded, receiving extended-range auxiliary fuel tanks to expand their reach farther to remote regions where special operations forces operate. The helicopters can now fly even longer re-supply missions without having to refuel. A record distance of 58 miles one way has been achieved so far.

“Every time you can eliminate even a portion of a convoy, you eliminate the possibility of someone losing their life from an IED on the roads,” said NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. David Architzel at a Meet the Fleet debrief last July.

Developed by Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace, K-MAX has proven it can carry the U.S. Marine Corps-required 4,500 pounds per sortie and 30,000 pounds per day in Afghanistan. Since being deployed, the two helicopters have flown more than 30,000 hours during more than 1,000 missions and delivered more than three million pounds of supplies.

The Marines recently requested K-MAX remain in-theater through the end of the Operation Enduring Freedom.

Posted April 11, 2013