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Unmanned K-Max Helicopter

Unmanned K-Max Helicopter

Remote Controlled K-Max U.S. Marine Corps Helicopter developed to transport cargo to combat zones.

Lockheed Martin has teamed up with Kaman Aerospace to develop an unmanned/manned version of Kaman’s K-Max cargo helicopter that will be deployed to support Centcom and Marine forces.

The new Lockheed/Kaman adapted K-Max will pick up the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) contract to develop an unmanned cargo helicopter as part of the Unmanned Air Systems (ATUAS) program, beating the rival Boeing A160T Hummingbird.

lockheed unmanned manned k-max

Unmanned-Manned K-Max Cargo Helicopter

Since testing began in 2006, the Lockheed K-Max team have flown over 400 hours in autonomous mode – in which the helicopter responds to a flight path pre-set by a ground based operator using a laptop – and in January earlier this year, a demonstration at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, showcased the aircraft’s autonomous and remote control flight capabilities ‘via both line-of-sight and satellite-based beyond line-of-sight data links.’

The AATD based its decision on the K-Max’s performance and stability, as well as its capability to be optionally piloted.

The K-Max can carry up to four different loads with a combined total of 6000lbs. It can withstand hot temperatures; operate at high altitude; and has exceptional vertical lift capabilities thanks to the intermeshing synchropter design – essentially an advancement on the 1940’s ‘eggbeater’ rotor system.

Check out Lockheed team working on the K-Max unmanned/manned cargo helicopter.

K-Max’s performance specifications easily surpass the AATD’s requirements to deliver 750 lbs over a 200 km range, to a point 12,000 feet above sea level. And for the team’s recent unmanned developments, a contract will be awarded early next year. Following a military assessment later in 2011, a larger contract will be granted to cover the deployment and maintenance costs of the ATUAS systems.

K Max Specifications

  • Max gross weight (with external load): 12,000 lb/ 5443 kg
  • Max gross weight (without external load): 7,000 lb/ 3175 kg
  • Empty weight: 5,145 lb/ 2334 kg
  • Useful load: 6,855 lb/ 3109 kg
  • Cargo hook capacity: 6,000 lb/ 2722 kg
  • Lift Performance — ISA +15° C
    • Sea Level: 6,000 lb/ 2722 kg
    • 5,000 feet: 5,663 lb/ 2574 kg
    • 10,000 feet: 5,163 lb/ 2347 kg
    • 15,000 feet: 4,313 lb/ 1960 kg
  • Hover Performance — 4,000 feet, 35° C (95° F)
    • Hover IGE: 12,000 lb/ 5443 kg
    • Hover OGE: 11,500 lb/ 5216 kg
  • Powerplant
    • Model Honeywell T53-17 gas turbine
    • Thermodynamic rating 1,800 shaft horsepower
  • Maximum airspeed
    • Without external load: 100 kt/ 185.2 kph
    • With external load: 80 kt/ 148.2 kph

Related Posts:


  1. Warwick, Graham (05 May 2010). K-Max Drops 'Em in Cargo Demo. Retrieved from
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