A Lockheed Martin executive has confirmed the U.S. Army’s interest in version of the company’s K-MAX robot supply helicopter, currently in testing by the Marine Corps. “One thing we are continuing to work on and move forward with is taking pilots out of aircraft,” Aviation Systems Vice President Dan Spoor told a New York newspaper.
Designed and produced by Kaman, the twin-rotor K-MAX began as a manned helicopter for cargo and firefighting duties. Lockheed teamed with Kaman to add servos and radios for remote control via satellite. In 2009 the Marine Corps selected the Lockheed-Kaman team to develop the pilotless K-MAX for military resupply missions.
The spread of deadly Improvised Explosive Devices spurred the development.