The Marine Corps has just taken delivery of the first two Kaman K-MAX Helicopters just last week on May 7th of 2016 at the Marine Corps Air station in Yuma, Arizona. Unique in purpose and design, the Kaman K-MAX Helicopter has interlinking rotors and whose primary mission is to handle cargo load operations with a maximum payload exceed 6,000 pounds. Jerry McCawley, Chief Pilot and Flight Safety Engineer with Lockheed Martin, revealed that the Kaman K-MAX Helicopters can actually fly by itself independent of a physical pilot.
The Kaman K-MAX Helicopter were used in missions during the conflicts in Afghanistan and were reportedly moving over five million pounds of cargo for almost three years flying unhanded. The K-MAX Helicopters’ chief advantage is keeping convoys off the road and in turn preventing ambush roadside attacks that have claimed the lives of so many during the war.
Utilizing MACS Yuma’s training ranges in California and Arizona, the K-MAX Helicopters are expected to become a vital and essential part of testing and full-scale operations. Already revolutionizing the environment of expeditionary Marine air-ground combat power and capabilities, the K-MAX Helicopters scope of duties will continue to expand as MCAS Yuma continues to expand its scope of operations. McCawley went on to further extolling the K-MAX Helicopters by praising its resilience and ability to fly at all hours day or night.
“It’s out here in Yuma for future test and development with the Marines. It’s great now, and it’s only going to get better,”
The K-MAX Helicopter will be the latest in an expansive and already massive collection of military aircraft alongside strengthening training, testing and operations for the Marine Corps. Kaman announced the that the K-MAX will begin production again back in 2015 due to 10 commercial orders with the first deliveries set for the beginning of the fiscal year of 2017.
Lockheed Martin has also demonstrated a firefighting version of the Kaman K-MAX Helicopter back in November of 2014 and once again in October of 2015 demonstrating the ability to deliver over 24,000 pounds of water in just under one hour.