Kaman to discontinue K-Max production

Avatar for Oliver JohnsonBy Oliver Johnson | January 19, 2023

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 34 seconds.

Kaman Corporation has announced it is ceasing production of the K-Max, as part of a wider restructuring and cost-cutting effort throughout the company.

The K-MAX has begun operations in China following certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Kaman Photo
The K-MAX is a rugged, low-maintenance aircraft that features a counter-rotating rotor system and is optimized for cyclical, external load operations. Kaman Photo

“The company determined that given low demand and variation in annual deliveries, coupled with low profitability and large working capital inventory requirements, K-Max does not deliver the most compelling growth opportunity for Kaman going forward,” a statement from Kaman announcing the restructuring efforts said. “As such, Kaman will discontinue K-Max and K-Max Titan production this year.”

Kaman said it will continue to support the existing K-Max fleet in operation, including providing operators with repair, spare parts, and fleet services as well as training.

Development of the heavy-lift single-seat utility aircraft, with its distinctive slender design and intermeshing counter-rotating main rotor blades, was led by Kaman founder and former CEO Charles Kaman, and it received type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1994.

The manufacturer delivered 35 aircraft during its first production run, which ceased in 2003. But following renewed industry interest — and the hugely successful deployment of two unmanned K-MAX aircraft, developed with Lockheed Martin, in support of the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan — Kaman announced it was restarting production of the aircraft in 2015.

That was for an initial production run of 10 aircraft over 2017 and 2018, but it was subsequently extended to at least 2019. Over the two production runs, 60 K-Max aircraft were delivered.

Production of the K-Max is spread across several facilities, with Kaman’s Jacksonville, Florida, plant creating the airframe, and its facilities in Bloomfield, Connecticut, producing components and serving as the final assembly line.

Kaman said the decision to end production of the K-Max followed a broad review of all its businesses and programs, with the company seeking to increase efficiencies, improve working capital management and focus on its most sustainable and consistent revenue and profit generating activities. It said the resulting cuts would save it about $25 million per year.

“With respect to workforce reductions, we do not take these decisions lightly,” said Ian K. Walsh, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Kaman. “We value the tremendous contributions of our colleagues who worked to position Kaman for its next chapter of growth and success and are committed to supporting them through this transition.”

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