The unmanned K-MAX helicopter, developed by Kaman Aerospace and Lockheed Martin, hit several milestones during demonstration flights conducted last month in Yuma, Ariz.
Among the milestones were 16 airdropped payloads and 10 GPS guided Joint Precision Aerial Delivery Systems (JPADS), two of which were triggered remotely from the Unmanned K-MAX ground control station. Other notable accomplishments of the demonstrations include largest payload, 4,400lbs, airdropped via sling load from a helicopter (four 1,100 lb payloads); highest altitude for payloads airdropped from a sling load (10,000 ft above sea level); the first airdrop of four guided JPADS systems from a sling load; the first airdrop for the High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachute system from a helicopter sling load (prototype HALO Leaflet Delivery System); and first demonstrated non-line-of-sight (NLOS) ability to dynamically re-task slingload JPADS ground target points.
"These airdrops prove K-MAX's ability to provide a safe, low-cost supply delivery method to the troops," said Terry Fogarty, general manager of Kaman's Unmanned Aircraft Systems product group. "The aircraft's ability to successfully perform high altitude missions contributes to the flexibility and security we can offer the Marines with K-MAX."
Lockheed Martin has designed the helicopter's mission management and control systems to provide the K-MAX with exceptional flight autonomy in remote environments and over long distances.