Two pilotless Marine helicopters built by Bloomfield's Kaman Corp. will stay an extra two months in the Afghan battle zone, reflecting their success delivering more than one million pounds of resupplies to U.S. soldiers, authorities say.
Deployed to the region last November, the drones will remain on station until September rather than June, conducting six missions daily with record payloads ranging from a single 4,200-pound sling load to 28,800 pounds lifted in a single day, military officials said.
"We are moving cargo without putting any Marines, soldiers or airmen at risk,'' Marine Corps Maj. Kyle O'Connor, who is overseeing the deployment, said in a statement Wednesday. "If we had a fleet of these things flying 24-7, we could move cargo around and not put people in jeopardy."
The pair are part of an initial $46 million contract the Navy awarded Lockheed as prime contractor.
The drones pretty much the same size as the original K-Max aircraft, except that they are flown via remote control by military technicians in the battlefield.