K-MAX First Flight

The first flight of a single-seat Kaman K-MAX (capable of being modified for unmanned operations) cargo lift helicopter built on the reopened production line took place on 12 May. The helicopter, which was built in Jacksonville, Florida, in January, will carry out test and certification flying before being delivered in mid-year. The first two new production K-MAX aircraft will be exported to China where they will be used for fire-fighting. Ten K-MAX helicopters are currently on order for civil sector users, but the US Marine Corps is reportedly interested in a number of pilot-optional versions for resupply missions. The Marines operated two unmanned K-MAX helicopters in Afghanistan to carry underslung loads to outposts.