Army seeks new unmanned air cargo systems

Aug. 16, 2011 at 11:49 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has selected Lockheed Martin to develop, demonstrate and deliver autonomous technologies for unmanned cargo air systems.

Under a $47 million contract, Lockheed and Kaman Aerospace will demonstrate intelligent autonomous technologies for unmanned aerial systems using the K-MAX helicopter platform.

"Lockheed Martin's experience, resources and proven K-MAX platform will allow us to meet the Army's objectives," said Dan Spoor, vice president of Aviation Systems at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors.

"We are eager to develop and demonstrate the latest autonomous technologies using the mature and low-risk K-MAX platform."

The 6,000-power power lifter can fly at a higher altitude with a heavier payload than any other rotary wing unmanned system. With its four-hook carousel, the unmanned K-MAX can also deliver more cargo to more locations in one flight.

The Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate is investing in mature technologies that will enhance unmanned cargo resupply capabilities by improving autonomous operations, increasing delivery accuracy and reducing ground control station operator workload.

Kaman Aerospace Corp. is a subsidiary of Kaman Corp.

Lockheed and Kaman, since partnering in 2007, have made significant investments to provide a rapid response to an urgent military service need. The team has met all milestones and recently began electromagnetic environmental effects testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., as part of the Navy and Marine Corps Cargo Unmanned Air Systems program.

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