Kaman K-MAX continues as a proven firefighting asset for U.S. Forest Service

Kaman Press Release | May 20, 2020

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 18 seconds.

Kaman Air Vehicles, a division of Kaman Corporation, recently announced the United States Forest Service (USFS) awarded 40 percent of all Type 1, large helicopters exclusive use contracts, to K-MAX helicopter operators. These four-year contracts ensure immediate resources are available to the USFS when the need for firefighting arises.

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 K-MAX continues to be a proven aerial firefighter worldwide and is the most cost effective Type 1 helicopter in service today,” said Roger Wassmuth, senior director of business development. “We are extremely proud of our K-MAX operators and pleased the USFS has decided to increase the number of K-MAX’s on exclusive use contracts.”

ROTAK Helicopter Services has been selected to provide two of the exclusive use Type 1 helicopters for wildfire suppression.

“We are very excited to operate our K-MAX helicopters to support the USFS, it’s a great platform with a proven historical record,” said Ely Woods, general manager, ROTAK Helicopter Services, Alaskan based helicopter operator specializing in aerial construction activities, wildfire suppression, disaster relief, and power line construction.

“Kaman is honored to provide a product that allows K-MAX operators to successfully support the USFS firefighting operations and our employees are proud of the role the K-MAX plays in reducing personal loss to all Americans who are impacted by wildfires. We stand by with parts and support to ensure our operators are available to aid the USFS in this critical function,” said Darlene Smith, vice president and general manager of the Kaman Air Vehicles division.

The K-MAX is a rugged, low-maintenance aircraft that features a counter-rotating rotor system and is optimized for cyclical, external load operations. The aircraft can lift up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg). The first unmanned helicopter was flown by Kaman in 1953.

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