2010 promises to be one of the most exciting years in recent history for Kaman Helicopters. If everything goes according to plan, Kaman Corporation’s high-profile helicopter division will experience significant change and growth in the year ahead.
The company’s greatest opportunity rests with the unmanned K-MAX helicopter. As this issue of Rotor & Wing goes to press, a Kaman-Lockheed Martin team (Team K-MAX) is preparing an unmanned K-MAX for a crucial demonstration flight that will be followed by an RFP in January and could help pave the way for a contract award from the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2010.
The Marine Corps envisions that use of the unmanned aircraft for resupply would boost soldier safety by reducing the requirement for trucks and convoys, which are vulnerable to enemy attack. Kaman would produce the unmanned K-MAX helicopters at its Bloomfield, Conn., headquarters. The high-profile military success is expected to lead to similar sales of manned or unmanned K-MAXs to international customers that require a high-altitude workhorse aircraft for humanitarian aid, resupply, firefighting, construction, and similar missions.
Innovation in helicopter composite rotor blade technology is a rapidly growing business at the Kaman Helicopter HeliworX full-service aerospace innovation and manufacturing support center. Following on other recent successes, earlier this year the company was awarded a five-year, $53-million contract to build helicopter blade skins and skin core assemblies for Bell helicopters. The company has also introduced sprayable erosion coating that has significantly extended the lifespan and reduced the life cycle costs of U.S. Army BLACK HAWK helicopter main rotor blades.
The system will soon be available for other military and commercial helicopters. Kaman is the only certified facility authorized to apply the Hontek coating. Backed by Kaman’s infrastructure and expertise, HeliworX is the only subcontractor with the OEM advantage capable of offering design/analysis, manufacturing and test and flight solutions. Other capabilities include integration, composite and metallic manufacturing, final assembly, rotor blade whirl towers, a sand erosion test facility and flight test. Looking ahead, the company plans to expand its aftermarket activities, using HeliworX capabilities as a foundation for additional growth.
Kaman is actively marketing 11 highly capable and mission-ready Seasprite helicopters to international naval customers and the company expects a sale to be announced in 2010. The Egyptian Air Force is entering its 12th year of successful robust performance of its SH-2G(E) helicopter fleet. Other international militaries using the Super Seasprite include the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Poland Navy. Today’s Kaman Helicopters is a company with a distinguished past, and a bright future, where change is in the air.
For more information, contact: Mark Tattershall, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Phone: 860-243-7085, Web: www.kamanaero.com