9-Mar-2015 Source: HeliHub.com
By Andrew Drwiega, Heli-Expo, Florida, USA
Kaman Aerospace is nearing the threshold that would allow the company to reopen its K-Max K-1200 production line, says Terry Fogarty, general manager of Kaman’s UAS Group. “With deposits now over 75% of what we require we are now anticipating that this will go ahead.”
Speaking at Heli-Expo to Helihub.com, Fogarty said that there has been continued interest in the K-Max ever since production ceased in 2003 with only 38 built. However, the company had the foresight to keep manufacturing tools.
Following the very successful deployment with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) of an unmanned/optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) K-Max between 2011 and 2014 (there were two but one crashed early with no funds allocated by the Marines to repair it), the interest has continued post-withdrawal from Afghanistan. “The Marines appreciate what this has done operationally and are looking at options for the future,” stated Fogarty.
Lockheed Martin is responsible for giving the UAS K-Max its remote command, control and mission management capability. On 6 November 2014 at Rome, New York, a K-Max UAS operated in cooperation with an Indago quadrotor to lift and drop over 24,000 lbs of water onto fire hot-stops. Fogarty says that another such aerial fire-fighting demonstration is being planned to take place at Boise, Idaho in June this year. Those invited to attend will include representatives from the Department of the Interior and the US Forest Service.
Andrew Drwiega – HeliHub.com