Satnews Daily
February 24th, 2011

Kaman + Lockheed Martin... Slinging It (UAS/UAV)

The unmanned K-MAXX helicopter and sling load attachment preparation.
[SatNews] Kaman Aerospace Corporation, a subsidiary of Kaman Corporation [NASDAQ GS: KAMN], and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), recently made aviation history.

The history making event was the operation of the unmanned K-MAX helicopter and successfully completing multiple guided airdrops via sling load at 10,000 ft above sea level. In four separate flights conducted January 24-25, 2011, at the Army’s Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz., the K-MAX successfully airdropped 16 payloads; 10 GPS guided Joint Precision Aerial Delivery Systems (JPADS), two of which were triggered remotely from the unmanned K-MAX ground control station. Payloads included medical equipment, food, simulated leaflets and bulk cargo. Among the “firsts” achieved by the optionally piloted aircraft:
  • Largest payload, 4,400lbs, airdropped via sling load from a helicopter (four 1,100 lb payloads)
  • The 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)
  • First demonstrated non-line-of-sight (NLOS) ability to dynamically re-task slingload JPADS ground target points
The effort was executed under a Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) with support from the Office of the Secretary of Defense Rapid Fielding Directorate (OSD RFD), Joint Medical Distance Support and Evacuation Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JMDSE JCTD) with U.S. Joint Forces Command as Operational Manager and US Army NSRDEC as Technical Manager. Kaman and industry partner Lockheed Martin Corporation [NYSE: LMT] are developing Unmanned K-MAX to meet an urgent U.S. Marine Corps requirement for cargo unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). 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.