Dangerous frontline operations call for a safe and efficient method to locate and evacuate wounded personnel. To address this critical need and help save lives, Lockheed Martin, Kaman Aerospace, and Neya Systems demonstrated the first ever collaborative unmanned air and ground casualty evacuation using the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Control Segment (UCS) Architecture and K-MAX cargo helicopter on March 26, 2015.
During the demonstration, a distress call led ground operators to send an unmanned ground vehicle to assess the area and injured party. The ground operators used control stations that communicated with one another using the UAS Control Segment Architecture. Upon successful identification, the ground operators requested airlift by unmanned K-MAX of one individual who was injured. From the ground, the K-MAX operators used a tablet to determine the precise location and a safe landing area to provide assistance to the team. The injured team member was strapped into a seat on the side of the unmanned K-MAX, which then flew that individual to safety.
«This application of the unmanned K-MAX enables day or night transport of wounded personnel to safety without endangering additional lives», said Jay McConville, director of business development for Unmanned Integrated Solutions at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training. «Since the K-MAX returned from a nearly three-year deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps, we’ve seen benefits of and extended our open system design incorporating the UCS Architecture, which allows rapid integration of new applications across industry to increase the safety of operations, such as casualty evacuation, where lives are at stake».
«Neya is continuing to develop advanced technologies for human robot interfaces for complex platforms and multi-robot missions», said Dr. Parag Batavia, president of Neya. «Our and Lockheed Martin’s use of the Unmanned Aircraft System Control Segment Architecture greatly sped up integration of our respective technologies, resulting in a comprehensive capability that can be ultimately transitioned to the warfighter very efficiently».
While deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps from 2011 to 2014, unmanned K-MAX successfully conducted resupply operations, delivering more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo during more than 1,900 missions. Manufactured by Kaman and outfitted with an advanced mission suite by Lockheed Martin, unmanned K-MAX is engineered with a twin-rotor design that maximizes lift capability in the most challenging environments, from the mountainous Alps to the Persian Gulf. Its advanced autonomy allows unmanned K-MAX to work day and night, in all-weather, even when manned assets are unable to fly. Lockheed Martin continues to extend and mature the K-MAX helicopter’s onboard technology and autonomy for defense operations, as well as demonstrate its use for civil and commercial applications.
With five decades of experience in unmanned and robotic systems for air, land and sea, Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems are engineered to help our military, civil and commercial customers accomplish their most difficult challenges today and in the future.
Kaman Aerospace is a division Kaman Corporation, which was founded in 1945 by aviation pioneer Charles H. Kaman. Neya Systems, LLC is a small business unmanned systems company in Wexford, Pennsylvania. Founded in 2009, Neya focuses on developing interoperable solutions to the world’s hardest robotics problems.
K-MAX Unmanned Aerial System
Lockheed Martin Corporation and Kaman Aerospace Corporation have successfully transformed Kaman’s proven K-MAX power lift helicopter into an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) capable of autonomous or remote controlled cargo delivery. Its mission: battlefield cargo resupply for the U.S. military.
The K-MAX UAS is a transformational technology for a fast-moving battlefield that will enable Marines to deliver supplies either day or night to precise locations without risk of losing life in the process. The aircraft can fly at higher altitudes with a larger payload than any other rotary wing UAS. With its four-hook carousel, the K-MAX UAS can also deliver more cargo to more locations in one flight
The team has flown the K-MAX UAS more than 750 hours in autonomous mode since joining forces in 2007. The rugged system can lift and deliver a full 6,000 lbs/2,722 kg of cargo at sea level and more than 4,000 pounds/1,814 kg at 15,000 feet/4,572 m density altitude.
The K-MAX continues to exceed expectations as an unmanned platform. The aircraft has met all unmanned milestones to date and continues to excel in the commercial logging and firefighting industries. The aircraft will remain optionally piloted for ease of National Airspace Operations, occasional manned mission flexibility, ferry flights, rapid integration of new mission equipment, and allow rapid return-to-service activities.
The manned version of the K-MAX is used for repetitive lift operations by commercial operators for the construction and logging industries. To date, the fleet has accumulated more than 255,000 flight hours since 1994.
|Weights and Measurements|
|Max gross weight (with external load)||12,000 lbs/5,443 kg|
|Max take-off weight||7,000 lbs/3,175 kg|
|Empty weight||5,145 lbs/2,334 kg|
|Useful load||6,855 lbs/3,109 kg|
|Cargo hook capacity||6,000 lbs/2,722 kg|
|Lift Performance – ISA (International Standard Atmosphere) +15°C (59°F)|
|Sea Level||6,000 lbs/2,722 kg|
|5,000 feet/1,524 m||5,663 lbs/2,574 kg|
|10,000 feet/3,048 m||5,163 lbs/2,347 kg|
|15,000 feet/4,572 m||4,313 lbs/1,960 kg|
|Hover Performance – 4,000 feet/1,219 m, 35°C (95°F)|
|Hover IGE (In Ground Effect)||12,000 lbs/5,443 kg|
|Hover OGE (Out of Ground Effect)||11,500 lbs/5,216 kg|
|Model||Honeywell T53-17 gas turbine|
|Thermodynamic rating||1,800 shaft horsepower|
|Without external load||100 knots/115 mph/185.2 km/h|
|With external load||80 knots/92 mph/148.2 km/h|
|Total usable fuel||219.5 gal/831 liters|
|Average fuel consumption||85 gal/hr/321.7 l/hr|
|Jet A fuel||557.6 lbs/hr/252.9 kg/hr|
|Maximum endurance||12+ hr|
|Maximum range||1,150 miles/1,852 km (est)|
|Maximum speed with external load||80 knots/92 mph/148.2 km/h|
|Maximum speed without external load||100 knots/115 mph/185.2 km/h|
|Internal fuel endurance||2 hr 41 min|
|Range with external load||246 miles/396.3 km|
|Range without external load||307 miles/494.5 km|
|Approved fuels||Jet A/A-1, JP-5|
Lockheed Martin-Kaman’s unmanned helicopter successfully completing the Navy’s Quick Reaction Assessment
The rugged K-MAX multi-mission helicopter that Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace have transformed into an Unmanned Aerial Truck proves why it is the best for unmanned battlefield cargo resupply missions
In January, 2010, the Unmanned K-MAX helicopter demonstrated autonomous and remote control flight over both line-of-sight and satellite-based beyond line-of-sight data link