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5 août 2014 2 05 /08 /août /2014 11:35
K-Max returns from Afghan deployment


25 Jul 2014 By: Beth Stevenson - FG


The US Marine Corps’ Lockheed Martin/Kaman K-Max unmanned helicopter has returned from its Afghan deployment, following almost three years in theatre.

The cargo-carrying unmanned air vehicle returned in May, and is now undergoing technical assessment at Lockheed’s Owego facility in New York.

A USMC assessment of assets in theatre concluded that the UAV was no longer required in Afghanistan to support the mission, so the unmanned rotorcraft was subsequently returned, Capt Patrick Smith, programme executive officer for multi-mission UAS, says.


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12 mai 2014 1 12 /05 /mai /2014 16:20
Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS Demonstrates Advanced Autonomy


9 mai 2014 LockheedMartinVideos


Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS technology aboard a K-MAX unmanned helicopter showcased its autonomous capabilities in March 2014 as part of the Office of Naval Research Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS). During the demonstration, an active duty Marine interfaced with the mission system's handheld flight control device to complete a resupply mission. The system successfully planned, routed and executed the mission without requiring user input.

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9 avril 2014 3 09 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
Lockheed Martin and the Office of Naval Research Demonstrate Airborne Autonomy Technology


NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., April 7, 2014 – Lockheed Martin


System provides vehicle agnostic capability for current and future missions


As autonomous technologies continue to develop and grow within the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) successfully demonstrated the Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS mission system’s ability to accomplish an autonomous approach and landing in an unprepared environment. The system enhances the onboard intelligence of the vehicle and provides an advanced mission planning capability that can be applied to current and future helicopters and rotary wing aircraft.

The Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) demonstration tested Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS technology aboard a K-MAX unmanned helicopter, which served as a test bed for the system. During the demonstration, an active duty Marine interfaced with the mission system’s handheld flight control device to complete a resupply mission. The system successfully planned, routed and executed the mission without requiring user input.

“The Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS suite of systems and sensors use an open architecture positioned for Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) compliance, which applies and adapts both legacy and future mission systems to airborne assets,” said Roger Il Grande, director of Airborne Systems Programs for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business. “As we continue to operate on a fast-moving battlefield, additional mission modules can be added or removed without costly overhauls to the system, providing an advanced, flexible capability for the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy.”

Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS primes aircraft for operations in austere environments or terrains, and allows users to execute missions day and night, in all weather conditions. Additionally, the system adds a multi-layer world model and active sensor control to enhance onboard perception and understanding for missions in which operators have limited or no knowledge of the location.

In addition to military applications, Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS can be used on commercial platforms for forestry and construction, pipelining, and firefighting missions because it can reach areas without improved roads, work around-the-clock, and provide valuable situational awareness to its operators.

With more than five decades experience in unmanned and robotic systems, Lockheed Martin offers multiple solutions for air, land and sea. From the depths of the ocean to the rarified air of the stratosphere, Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems help our military, civil and commercial customers accomplish their most difficult challenges.


Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 08:20
K-MAX And SMSS In Unmanned Air/Ground Trials



24/02/2014 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


Unmanned air and ground technologies will be paired in combined autonomous trials involving Lockheed Martin and the US Army.


In these, the US aerospace/defence firm's K-MAX unmanned helicopter and SMSS (Squad Mission Support System) will work together in the RSTA (reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition) role. According to officials, it's a first-time pairing that could expand the future battlefield roles of unmanned systems.


Two years ago, a Squad Mission Support System fitted with a multi-camera Gyrocam network carried out remotely-operated reconnaissance over a 200+ mile control radius. The new trials will build on this work, integrating the unmanned helicopter.


K-MAX And SMSS Trials


"This level of mission cooperation between unmanned air and ground vehicles of this size, controlled beyond line-of-sight, is an industry first", said Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control's Joe Zinecker, in the firm's K-MAX UAS /SMSS UGV trials press release. "This demonstration could lead to expanded missions, such as remote sensing and monitoring of suspected chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats or events."


The K-MAX UAS was developed by Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation. Tasked with resupplying deployed US warfighters with battlefield cargo, it can transport payloads weighing up to 6,000 pounds. The Squad Mission Support System previously achieved another unmanned systems first, working alongside deployed US forces in Afghanistan.


Unmanned Air And Ground Systems


The unmanned air and ground systems trial will be carried out in coming months. As it unfolds, the K-MAX will carry an SMSS as an underslung load and position it in a simulated frontline environment. With the SMSS surveying the area, the K-MAX will fly back to its base.


'In this new scenario, the reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition sensor onboard the SMSS will be used to locate, observe and obtain coordinates of targets and other objects of interest', Lockheed Martin explains. 'The coordinates and sensor imagery will be passed back through a satellite communications system to a remote operations center hundreds of miles away for analysis.'

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
USMC Unmanned Lift Competition Taking Shape

The K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter is used to deliver supplies to troops in the war zone. (US Marine Corps)


Sep. 25, 2013 - By PAUL McLEARY – Defense News


QUANTICO, VA. — Two of the companies competing for the Marine Corps’ unmanned lift/ISR capability are facing off on opposite sides of the display tent this week here, offering unmanned helicopter variants of traditionally manned birds.


Working as a subcontractor to Aurora Flight Services to compete for the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) program, Boeing has been flying its H-6U Little Bird helicopter unmanned, preparing for a Marine Corps evaluation in February at Quantico.


The companies are flying the Little Bird near Manassas with a pilot on board, but not controlling the aircraft, because having the pilot option helps them comply with FAA regulations, said the company’s Michael Sahag, business development for unmanned airborne systems.


Boeing has actually been flying the helicopter unmanned since 2004, including take-offs and landings on ships at sea, including on a commercial ship in July, and a test with the French Navy in October 2012.


The Little Bird has an endurance of about 12 hours with a limited payload, and can carry up to 25,000 pounds, including weapons such as Hellfire rockets and other ISR mission packages.


Just across the exhibition hall, Lockheed Martin is eager to talk about its K-MAX unmanned helicopter, which the Marines have been flying in Afghanistan since late 2011.


The company initially sent two helicopters to Afghanistan, but one crashed on a supply run near Camp Leatherneck in June, so for the moment, only one is based at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, ferrying food and supplies to Marines at far-flung outposts.


The K-MAX is capable of carrying up to about 6,000 pounds of cargo, and once flew 30,000 pounds of cargo over the course of six missions.


Terry Fogarty, general manager of the Kaman UAS product group, confirmed that the Marines plan on keeping at least one K-MAX in theater until at least 2014, when the last Marines are expected to leave Afghanistan.


He added that since Lockheed is working to win the program of record work for the unmanned AACUS effort, the K-MAX — in a manned capacity — had flown off of ships at sea back in the 1990s during operations in the Arabian Gulf.


“Shipboard landing is key,” he said. “Even the Army wants to do shipboard landings” with manned and unmanned aircraft in the future, he added.


While the Army is moving much slower than the Corps in developing an unmanned lift capability, it did conduct two flight tests of an unmanned Black Hawk in November and May at the Diablo Range in California.


And back in January 2012, the Army released a request for information for a cargo-carrying unmanned aircraft system that would be able to carry cargo up to 300 nautical miles at 250 knots while carrying 5,000 to 8,000 pounds — but they’ve been quiet about the whole idea since.


But that doesn’t means Congress isn’t paying attention.


In its markup of the fiscal 2014 defense bill, the House Armed Services Committee said its members are “concerned that the Army, despite having very similar logistical challenges [as the Marine Corps], does not have a cargo UAS program.”


Therefore, the committee wants the Army secretary to deliver a report to Congress by February about what the Army’s plans are for developing such a system.

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5 février 2012 7 05 /02 /février /2012 18:35



05.02.2012 DEFENSETECH


Check this out. We’ve been wondering how the cancellation of the C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft would impact the Army’s tactical airlift needs. While the Air Force says canning the JCA won’t hurt anyone, it looks like the Army is eying the optionally-manned K-MAX helo to carry realatively small but urgent loads of cargo to remote bases.

Now, the Marines have been experimenting with using the K-MAX for this role in Afghanistan for a while now and the Army is very interested in seeing how that effort goes, according to AvWeek.

And you can bet the Army is keeping a close eye on the program. In August, the service awarded the Lockheed/Kaman team $47 million to continue work on the K-MAX program—testing was done this past fall at Ft. Benning—while wrapping up a larger study on a full range of unmanned cargo options.

The tests will help the service build a formal program of record for an unmanned vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability, a program which we already know Textron/AAI is very interested in. Steve Reid, the company’s senior vp and general manager for unmanned systems says that the company has signed a license agreement with Carter Aviation for a manned, four-person rotary winged asset that Textron is working on turning into an unmanned asset that the company feels “would do the cargo mission that’s being talked about” quite nicely. The Navy has also been busy with other unmanned options, including awarding Northrop Grumman a contract in September to supply twenty-eight MQ-8C Fire Scout VTOL-UAS’s (based on Bell’s 407 helicopter airframe), which the company has touted for its cargo-lugging capabilities.

Very interesting.



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