Photo Lockheed Martin
09/09/11 By Stephen Trimble SOURCE:Flight International
A Lockheed Martin/Kaman Aerospace team has completed a five-day assessment that will determine whether the K-Max unmanned helicopter will be selected for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The quick reaction assessment for the coaxial-rotor K-Max is the last step in a roughly eight-month competition phase. Last December, the US Navy awarded contracts to US-based Lockheed and Kaman and the Boeing A160 Hummingbird to show which aircraft can best perform a mission to resupply forward bases autonomously.
The unmanned K-Max has been adapted from the manned helicopter normally used in the logging industry. Boeing, also US, designed the A160 for long-endurance flight.
Navy officials are expected to decide later this year which aircraft will be deployed to support the US Marine Corps in Afghanistan next year. The selected aircraft would augment the Marines' manned helicopters and replace some convoys of supply trucks moving across dangerous roads in the country.