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May 3, 2023

Amid 1Q loss, Kaman Corp. CEO Walsh said first unmanned aerial lift vehicle flight getting ‘very close’

HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER Ian Walsh, CEO of aerospace and medical components manufacturer Kaman Corp.

As the company continues to shift its business and key product lines, Bloomfield-based aerospace manufacturer Kaman Corp. on Wednesday posted a $19,000 first quarter loss, compared to a $4 million profit in the first quarter of 2022.

That marks an improvement from the almost $55 million loss the company reported in the fourth quarter or 2022, which was driven mainly by $79 million in one-time impairment charges.

Despite the red ink, Kaman’s first-quarter sales grew 23% year-over-year to $194.5 million.

Kaman Corp. CEO Ian Walsh said during Wednesday’s earnings call that the first flight for its unmanned aerial lift vehicle KARGO UAV is anticipated for this year. Further, Kaman recently struck an agreement with PHI Aviation LLC for promotion, sales and support of KARGO UAV and a non-binding memorandum of understanding for 50 units. This is in addition to the prototype ordered by the U.S. Marine Corps. last year.

Revenue related to sales and maintenance of KARGO UAV will be realized in 2025 and 2026, the company said.

The new product is expected to carry the company into the future as it winds down a few long-existing programs. The company announced in December it would be moving away from its Joint Programmable Fuze (JPF) production, and in January the company said it would be cutting an undisclosed number of jobs and closing at least one manufacturing plant in Orlando, Florida.

Further, the company has discontinued production of its K-MAX heavy-lift helicopter and fully shifted its focus on the development of KARGO UAV.

“We’re getting very close to that first flight,” Walsh said on the call.

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