21 Oct 10. Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation, a subsidiary of Kaman Corporation, have formally offered the K-MAX(R) unmanned helicopter in response to a U.S. Naval Air Systems Command request for a cargo unmanned aircraft system. Earlier this year, the unmanned K-MAX system successfully demonstrated its ability to resupply troops in a simulated environment similar to forward operating bases in Afghanistan. Under a contract with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Lockheed Martin and Kaman successfully flew the unmanned K-MAX at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, meeting or exceeding the requirements that were set. During the Dugway flights, the unmanned K-MAX demonstrated its ability to hover at 12,000 feet with a 1,500-pound sling load, deliver 3,000 pounds of cargo well within the six-hour required timeframe in two 150 nm round-trip flights, fly remotely controlled, perform a precision load delivery by a ground-based operator in either day or night conditions and upload a new mission plan to the aircraft’s mission management system during flight. The team also showcased the unmanned K-MAX helicopter’s four-hook carousel, which enables multi-load deliveries in a single flight. The aircraft flew to three pre-programmed delivery coordinates loaded up with 3,450 pounds of cargo, and released a sling load autonomously at each location. At the Marine’s request, the fourth load delivery was performed under manual control by the ground operator. This demonstrated capability exceeds all of the performance requirements detailed in the request. Lockheed Martin has teamed with Kaman to offer a proven solution. Kaman has also performed a cargo airdrop demonstration in partnership with the U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center this past April.
25 Oct 10. AeroVironment, Inc. announced that the first aircraft developed under the Global Observer™ Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program has successfully completed initial flight testing consisting of multiple low-altitude flights at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) in California. This initial flight test phase of the demonstration program employed batteries to power the hybrid-electric aircraft and to approximate full aircraft weight and center of gravity for flight control, performance and responsiveness evaluation. The program team has installed and is currently ground testing the aircraft’s innovative, hydrogen-fueled generator and liquid hydrogen fuel tanks which will power it through stratospheric, extreme endurance flights during the joint operational utility assessment phase of the program. The initial test flights took place during the months of August and September and have succeeded in achieving the primary objectives of the low altitude flight test program. The primary objectives for initial flight testing were to test guidance, manual and autonomous controls, navigation, structural performance, thrust levels and handling in various winds and turbulence conditions.
Oct 10. AeroVironment offers US Army ‘family’ of unmanned systems. With the US Army shifting operations from Iraq to Afghanistan, the demand for small unmanned air vehicles is moving into higher gear as well.The army plans to buy 3,000 Raven small UAVs – and already has 2,000 in hand – from California-based AeroVironment. During AUSA in Washington, DC, another $7.2m order for the company’s Puma air vehicle was announced, expanding an August deal with the US Special Operations Command worth $35.3 million. It also received a $4.4M order last month for a digital-datalink equipped version of the close-range, hand-launched Puma, which weighs about 5.9kg (13lb). Puma will fill requests for a “larger small UAV” with greater payload capacity and endurance than the Raven, says Col Gregory Gonzalez, project manager for unmanned aircraft systems at the army’s aviation executive office at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. The eventual goal is to provide a brigade com