Kaman hopes to extend K-MAX production through 2019
Kaman Corporation has announced that its Aerosystems division will continue production of the commercial K-MAX heavy-lift utility helicopter. The company resumed K-MAX production in 2015 after a more than decade long hiatus with an initial commitment to build at least 10 new aircraft.
“Continued demand and interest in the capabilities of the K-MAX have provided us the confidence to extend production into 2019 at a minimum. This is great news for operators who need the K-MAX to perform their repetitive lift missions cost effectively. Our team has done a great job assessing the global market and working with potential and existing customers to secure additional orders for our K-MAX® helicopter,” said Greg Steiner, president, Kaman Aerospace Group.
K-MAX aircraft are manufactured in the company’s North American facilities in Jacksonville, Fla. and Bloomfield, Conn. Orders for new K-MAX aircraft have thus far come from China, Europe and North America.
K-MAX aircraft are used around the world for firefighting, logging, powerline construction and other missions requiring repetitive aerial lift capabilities. The U.S. Marine Corps maintains two unmanned K-MAX aircraft developed with Lockheed Martin. These aircraft successfully supported the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan for thirty-three months from 2011-2014 carrying more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo. Additional unmanned firefighting and humanitarian missions for K-MAX are also being developed and tested.
Development of the K-MAX was led by Kaman founder and former CEO, aviation pioneer Charles H. Kaman, and received Federal Aviation Administration certification in 1994. The single-engine, single-seat K-MAX is a rugged low-maintenance aircraft that features a counter-rotating rotor system and is optimized for external load operations and designed specifically for vertical reference flight. The aircraft can lift up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg).