While armed drones like the Predator
tend to attract most of the attention when it comes to military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the unmanned K-MAX helicopter recently demonstrated its ability to evacuate wounded fighters from a hypothetical battlefield.
The unmanned Kaman K-MAX helicopter has made its first combat resupply mission in Afghanistan. Designed to reduce the reliance on truck convoys that are often targeted by IED (improvised explosive device) strikes when resupplying front-line troops in remote areas and manned aircraft that place their crews in danger, the unmanned aircraft is a modified K-MAX intermeshing rotor helicopter with the ability to lift a payload of over 6,000 pounds (2,721 kg).
The Unmanned K-MAX helicopter
being developed by Kaman Corporation and Lockheed Martin has further demonstrated the potential of this type of aircraft in the field by completing a list of airdrop firsts. The milestones in payload weight and altitude were reached during a recent series of tests at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona where the KMAX (UAS
) made guided airdrops via sling load at an altitude of 10,000 ft above sea level including a payload of 4,400 lbs.
Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation have transformed a 6,000lb power lifting K-MAX helicopter into an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and successfully tested airdropping cargo by parachute to simulate resupplying troops in the field. The test involved cargo airdrops from 300ft-400ft using a four-hook carousel during one flight, demonstrating how the UAV
could conduct four drops in a single mission.
January 29, 2005 George W is updating the fleet all round it seems. Just a few days ago we saw the new presidential limousine, and now comes the news that a new Presidential helicopter has been selected to provide a safe and secure "Oval Office in the Sky." Unlike Cadillac One, the selection process for the Presidential helicopter has been ongoing for some time. The fleet of helicopters currently used by the president includes 30-year old aircraft that were designed in the sixties, fielded in the seventies and no longer has the growth capability to incorporate the equipment necessary to provide suitable presidential support in the post 9-11 environment.