May 8, 2013, Camp Bastion, Afghanistan – In January a small group of U.S. Marines at a remote base near the village of Shurakay in northern Helmand province was running low on ammunition after fighting fiercely for days. The road in was too dangerous for a resupply convoy, and there were so many Taliban fighters that a helicopter crew trying to fly in would have been at serious risk.
Still, the Marines soon heard the soft thwack of rotor blades. They looked up as a glimpse into the future of aviation eased into a hover, then gently descended until a pallet of ammunition dangling beneath it touched the ground. The cargo hook released itself and the unmanned K-MAX helicopter rose again, turned and flew off.
The K-MAX, which is the only drone cargo helicopter in the U.S. military’s fleet, made two more runs to the embattled outpost, dropping off more supplies each time.
It wasn’t a stunt: Over the past 16 months, two K-MAX helicopters that were sent to Afghanistan as an experiment have delivered 3.2 millions of pounds of cargo across Helmand and flown more than 1,000 missions. That’s reduced the number of supply convoys needed on the province’s bomb-infested roads, eased the workload and risk for helicopter and Osprey crews, saved money and provided real-world proof that drones are practical for much more than surveillance and missile strikes.
| Read more
K-Max unmanned aircraft invaluable for U.S. marines
Niagara Helicopters receives Airbus Safety AwardNiagara Helicopters is the 2018 recipient of Airbus Helicopters Canada’s…
TSB releases Watchlist 2018The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its Watchlist…
Developing the CAMCOPTERIn September 2018, Schiebel helped bring the Red Bull Air…
Airbus first ACH145 Line in BrazilAirbus Helicopters’ Brazilian customer centre, Helibras, has delivered the world’s…
HAI HELI-EXPO 2019
March 4-7, 2019