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In January, Kaman and Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Marine Corps at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah the capability of the unmanned K-MAX helicopter to resupply troops by unmanned helicopter at forward operating bases in Afghanistan.  During the demonstration, the team showed autonomous and remote control sling load delivery over both line-of-sight and satellite-base beyond-line-of-sight data links.

Future tests may include the use of single and/or multiple Joint Precision Airdrop Systems (JPADS) from higher altitudes.  JPADS could be used in higher threat environments to resupply multiple and dispersed ground forces from one unmanned K-MAX release point.

Kaman designed the K-MAX helicopter to deliver sling loads up to 6,000 pounds at sea level, and 4,300 pounds at 15,000 ft.  Lockheed Martin’s mission management and control systems give the K-MAX helicopter unparalleled flight autonomy in remote environments and over large distances.

"Autonomous flight will enable military users to fly the unmanned K-MAX helicopter in day or night conditions," said Dan Spoor, Aviation Systems vice president at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors facility in Owego, NY.  "Adding an airdrop capability to the system gives the Army or Marines another resupply option."

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.

Kaman Corporation, founded in 1945 by aviation pioneer Charles H. Kaman, and headquartered in Bloomfield, Connecticut conducts business in the aerospace and industrial distribution markets.  The company produces and/or markets widely used proprietary aircraft bearings and components; complex metallic and composite aerostructures for commercial, military and general aviation fixed and rotary wing aircraft; safing and arming solutions for missile and bomb systems for the U.S. and allied militaries; subcontract helicopter work; and support for the company’s SH-2G Super Seasprite maritime helicopters and K-MAX medium-to-heavy lift helicopters.  The company is also a leading distributor of industrial parts, and operates nearly 200 customer service centers and five distribution centers across North America.

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