BLOOMFIELD, Conn.—Kaman Aerosystems recently announced that it has successfully delivered its first airframe from the re-opened K-MAX® production line in Jacksonville, Florida, to the company’s plant in Bloomfield, Connecticut, where it will undergo final assembly, testing, and certification.
“Delivery of the first K-MAX aircraft to our customer is scheduled to take place during the second quarter of this year, following completion of the remaining assembly and testing at our Bloomfield facility,” said Drake Klotzman, air vehicles and AVMRO division general manager, in a press release. “Producing the initial airframe is an important milestone for the program. There will be a number of efforts occurring simultaneously over the next few months, including the assembly of the aircraft, FAA production certification efforts, customary one-time inspections associated with the first aircraft, and flight test. Our experienced employees are working diligently to complete the first aircraft in order to have deliveries to customers begin this spring with multiple deliveries to follow during 2017.”
The single-engine, single-seat K-MAX is a rugged low-maintenance aircraft that features a counter-rotating rotor system; it is optimized for external load operations and designed specifically for vertical reference flight. The aircraft, which can lift up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg), are used around the world for firefighting, logging, 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 to 2014, carrying more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo.