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Timeline

Extended Indefinitely
 

Deployed in Afghanistan for more than a year, the U.S. Marine Corps recently requested K-MAX stay in-theater through the end of the Operation Enduring Freedom.


Beacon-Enabled Delivery
 

The K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter successfully demonstrated its ability to make a delivery and a landing within three meters of a beacon during tests at Ft. Pickett, Va., for the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate in April, 2012. Developed by Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace, K-MAX is currently being deployed in Afghanistan by the Marines. The Army has contracted with Lockheed Martin to develop, demonstrate and deliver autonomous technologies for unmanned air systems in support of in-theater unmanned cargo resupply missions, as well.


Deployed to Afghanistan
 

K-MAX was deployed to Afghanistan in November 2011, and a month later became the first unmanned helicopter to deliver cargo in theater.


Quick Reaction Assessment
 

August 2011 – To augment the Marines’ ground and air logistics operations, the Navy recently completed a successful five-day Quick Reaction Assessment (QRA) using the unmanned K-MAX helicopter developed by Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace. The QRA significantly advances the Navy’s plan to field a cargo unmanned aerial system (UAS) for a six-month deployment in the fall of 2011.


Multiple Guided Airdrop Demonstrations
 

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January 2011 – Kaman Aerospace and the NSRDEC made aviation history with the unmanned K-MAX helicopter by completing multiple guided airdrops via sling load at 10,000 ft above sea level. In four separate flights at the Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, the K-MAX successfully airdropped 16 payloads; ten GPS guided Joint Precision Aerial Delivery Systems, two of which were triggered remotely from the unmanned K-MAX ground control station. Payloads included medical equipment, food, simulated leaflets and bulk cargo.


Heli-Basket Demonstration
 

November 2010 – The rugged air vehicle used its heli-basket system to transport an all-terrain vehicle during a demonstration at Kaman’s Bloomfield, Conn. facility. The heli-basket can be used for moving equipment or for emergency evacuation situations. Additionally, using its multi-hook carousel system, the K-MAX completed a variety of aerial logistics delivery demonstrations that included individually air dropping four one ton containers.


Cargo Air Drop Demonstrations
 

April 2010 – In partnership with the Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), Kaman proves in the unmanned K-MAX helicopter’s ability to resupply troops with cargo airdropped by parachute. During the demonstration at Kaman’s Bloomfield facility, the team conducted 11 cargo airdrop tests from 300 ft. to 400 ft. above ground level. Kaman also used its four-hook carousel for the drops, and during one flight, demonstrated four airdrops in a single mission.


Dugway Proving Ground
 

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January 2010 – Under contract with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the team successfully demonstrates the unmanned K-MAX helicopter’s ability to meet the requirements of the Marine Corps’ Immediate Cargo UAS contract at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The K-MAX UAS demonstrated its ability to hover at 12,000 feet with a 1,500-pound sling load, deliver 3,000 pounds of cargo well within the six-hour required timeframe in two 150 nm round-trip flights, fly remotely controlled, perform a precision load delivery by a ground-based operator in either day or night conditions and upload a new mission plan to the aircraft’s mission management system during flight.

The team also showcased the unmanned K-MAX helicopter’s four-hook carousel, which enables multi-load deliveries in a single flight. The aircraft flew to three pre-programmed delivery coordinates loaded up with 3,450 pounds of cargo, and released a sling load autonomously at each location. At the Marine’s request, the fourth load delivery was performed under manual control by the ground operator.


Yuma Proving Ground
 

November-December 2009 – The team flight-tests the unmanned K-MAX helicopter in restricted air space at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ. The UAS repeatedly performs autonomous flight with different loads at altitudes as high as 15,000 ft DA, night operations and multiple cargo drops at beyond line of sight distances.


Colorado Rockies Demonstration
 

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July 2009 – In the Colorado Rockies, the team puts the K-MAX unmanned helicopter through its paces lifting 3,000-pound loads to 15,000 ft.


U.S. Army and Marine Corps Demonstrations
 

April and November 2008 – The team successfully demonstrates the Unmanned K-MAX helicopter to the Army during 45 minutes of operation at Ft. Eustis, VA. The demonstration is repeated later that year to the Marine Corps at Quantico. During the demonstrations, the K-MAX UAS demonstrated autonomous take-off and landing, pick-up and delivery of a 3,000-pound sling load, and the ability to replan and detour the aircraft mid flight to accommodate changes to mission requirements and battlefield threats.