During recent tests in Bloomfield, Conn., Kaman conducted 11 cargo airdrops from 300 ft. to 400 ft. above ground level using the Army’s low cost low altitude cross parachute, a one-time-use expendable aerodynamic decelerator that costs about $375.
“Airdropping cargo as an option to placing a sling load on the ground can enhance an unmanned aircraft’s survivability while delivering critical supplies in combat environments,” said Terry Fogarty, general manager of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Product Group at Kaman Helicopters.
Kaman performed the airdrops in partnership with the U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC).
“The demonstration exceeded our expectations” said Richard Benney, division leader, Aerial Delivery Equipment and Systems Division. “This capability will save lives, allowing us to deliver supplies to our troops using unmanned helicopters, while also avoiding the threat to the delivery platform in high-threat areas.”
Kaman designed the K-MAX helicopter to deliver sling loads up to 6,000 pounds at sea level, and 4,300 pounds at 15,000 ft. Lockheed Martin’s mission management and control systems enable autonomous flight in remote environments over large distances.