Kaman Aerospace has successfully conducted cargo airdrop tests for the unmanned K-MAX helicopter in cooperation with the US Army at the company’s Bloomfield, Connecticut, facility.
The K-MAX used its four-hook carousel and the army’s low-altitude cross parachute during the series of 11 cargo airdrop tests conducted at 300ft to 400ft high.
The parachute, with a payload capacity of around 600lb from 150ft to 300ft altitudes above ground level, is currently used to airdrop supplies from manned aircraft in Afghanistan.
Kaman Helicopters Unmanned Aircraft Systems Product Group general manager Terry Fogarty said the airdrop tests continued their progress to advance the Unmanned K-MAX helicopter as a battlefield cargo delivery system.
“Airdropping cargo as an option to placing a sling load on the ground can enhance an unmanned aircraft’s survivability while delivering critical supplies in combat environments,” Fogarty said.
The unmanned helicopter will undergo additional tests including the use of single and/or multiple joint precision airdrop systems (JPADS) from higher altitudes to demonstrate the operations in higher threat environments to resupply multiple and dispersed ground forces.
K-MAX helicopters can deliver sling loads of up to 6,000lb at sea level, and 4,300lb at 15,000ft, providing enhanced flight autonomy in remote environments and over large distances.