Global security company Lockheed Martin has inked a $47 million deal with the U.S. Army to produce, demonstrate and deploy unmanned autonomous technologies for cargo delivery missions. Working in conjunction with Kaman Aerospace, Lockheed Martin will use Kaman’s K-Max helicopter platform to display such technologies.
Cargo drones are of particular interest to the U.S. military — so much so, in fact, that the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate is investing large sums of money in processes that will enhance the technology. Improving delivery precision and diminishing the workload of ground control station operators are two key goals of the initiative.
Dan Spoor, vice president of aviation systems at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors, believes his company has the knowledge to execute this. “Lockheed Martin’s experience, resources and proven K-Max platform will allow us to meet the Army’s objectives,” he said in a statement. “We are eager to develop and demonstrate the latest autonomous technologies using the mature and low-risk K-Max platform.”
One key strength of K-Max is its ability to fly at a higher altitude than any other drone, Lockheed Martin officials say. What’s more, the 6,000-pound helicopter can also deliver more freight to more locations in one flight, thanks to its four-hook carousel, company spokespeople reveal.
Fortunately, Lockheed Martin has plenty of experience working with K-Max. The company has enjoyed a collaborative relationship with Kaman since 2007.