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Kaman Aerospace, the Aerospace segment of Kaman Corporation, announced that it has been awarded a contract to return two United States Marine Corps (USMC) K-MAX aircraft to flight operations. Kaman Aerospace will transport the two helicopters from Yuma, Arizona, where they are currently located, to Bloomfield, Connecticut, where they will be reactivated to flight-ready status.
The two helicopters, designated as CQ-24A, served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom from 2011 to 2013, and exclusively flew unmanned missions. In the 33 months the unmanned K-MAX was deployed to Afghanistan on combat resupply and logistical support missions, it moved over 4.5 million pounds of cargo throughout Afghanistan between forward operating bases and remote outposts. Operating exclusively during nighttime hours, these unmanned missions replaced the equivalent of 900 convoys and eliminated 46,000 hours of exposure to IEDs, direct fire, and other threat to troops on dangerous roads.
The current unmanned system on the Marine CQ-24A aircraft will be replaced with new technology advancements.
The Marine Corps recently finalized plans to return the two CQ-24A K-MAX helicopters to flight readiness and install the latest autonomous technology to support future unmanned efforts. Once the aircraft are operational, the USMC and Kaman will continue to collaborate to develop and integrate next-generation autonomous technology.