We already served you a nice dish of images of the big NATO & partners exercise Cold Response earlier, but the military photographers and the Norwegian military audiovisual unit have given us some more nice stuff! Press play and see more of the aircraft and helicopters that supported the 15,000 troops strong exercise in Northern and Central Norway, with even the Norwegian crown prince Haakon deployed, earning his tactical special operations parajump certification with the Norwegian Special Operations Command.
The Kamax team in Bloomfield, Connecticut, must be happy. The company just secured its first ever Chinese order for its very special K-Max heavy-lift utility chopper, possibly opening up a new market.
Lectern Aviation Supplies has agreed to buy two choppers of the type, according to a press release by Kaman. They will be operated to service the China Department of Forestry, as fire-fighting rotary wing.
The K-Max K-1200 – as the full name of the type goes – uses intermeshing rotors. Despite its small size this synchropter is able to transport payloads of about 6,000 pounds (2,720 kg). The Chinese deal is part of a larger set of orders which meant that the US company could restart a low-rate serial production of the K-Max – with the first new machines going to customers – including Lectern – in 2017.
US Marines unmanned airlift helicopter
Between 1991 and 2003 Kaman also produced the K-Max. Of the 38 machines built back then, 22 or 23 are still “alive”. Even the US Marines have seen potential in the machine, with two unmanned versions of the K-Max having gone through airlift test trials in Afghanistan. The K-Max costs only about 1,200 US dollar per hour to fly, making it a very affordable asset.
The somewhat odd-looking K-Max heavy-lift utility helicopter is back in production. Manufacturer Kaman Corporation announced the start of it on Friday 5 June, with the plants in Jacksonville (Florida) and Bloomfield (Connecticut) both active in the process. The first new K-Max is expected to fly out to its customer in Q1-2017.
The K-Max choppers are already used in the firefighting and logging business, where continuous aerial lift is required. Moreover, are two K-Max operational with the US Marine Corps where they have been turned into unmanned choppers by Lockheed Martin. Those USMC machines carried 4.5 million pounds of cargo during the military operations in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2014.
Launch customers of the new production K-Max include current users, like Rotex Helicopter of Switzerland and Helicopter Express of Chamblee, Georgia, USA. Rotex used the machines for forestry in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany. Rotex is ordered two new aircraft. Kaman expects the first 10 new K-Max choppers to give the company a revenue of 75 to 85 million dollar.
The original K-Max was certified for flight by the US Federal Aviation Administration in 1994. When the first production cycle ended in 2003 Kaman produced 38 machines.
The K-Max is a single-engine, single-seat helicopter, with a counter-rotating rotor system. It is optimized for external load operations with the need for vertical flight and known for its low-maintenance and operating costs, with about USD 1,200 per flight hour. The K-Max can lift up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg).
UPDATED | A Royal New Zealand Air Force Lockheed P-3K2 Orion has been the first to respond to the devastating cyclone Pam that struck northeastern Oceania on Friday 13 March 2015, with wind speeds up to 273 feet/second (300 km/h).
The aircraft was sent into the air first to assess the damage done to the nation of Tuvalu, and proceeded to Vanuatu on Friday the 13th where – according to local reports – up to 90 percent of the buildings in the capital Port Vila (47,000 people) has been damaged by the natural disaster. Vanuatu’s rescue services have much lost contact with the 220,000 inhabitants living on the 64 other islands of the nations.
The RNZAF sent a C-130H(NZ) Hercules with eight tonnes of supplies and a first response New Zealand team to Vanuatu on Sunday. Two more Hercules flights are scheduled for Monday 16 March.
In the area as well is Royal New Zealand navy HMNZS Wellington (P-55), but at the time of writing it is not known to Airheadsfly.com if the off-shore patrol vessel has its air asset – a Kaman SH-2 Seasprite – on board. Any rescue efforts will be hindered by the remoteness of the nations struck by Pam. The distance between Tuvalu and Vanuatu alone is about 950 miles (1,500 km).
Royal Australia Air Force
Australia has responded by sending at least one Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter stuffed with relief goods and rescue workers towards Vanuatu, where it was expected to land on Saturday 14 or Sunday 15 March as far as our reports indicate. A Royal Australian Air Force C-130 has been departing RAAF Station Amberley as well heading for Vanuatu. Since a lot of the infastructure is damaged, military planes with crews used to operate in these challenging environments are the only ones able to land on Bauerfield International Airport close to the capital Port Vila.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force has officially welcomed three new Kaman Seasprite maritime helicopters of the new SH-2G(I) type. The first batch of an order of ten was officially embedded with No. 6 Squadron at RNZAF Base Auckland/Whenuapai on 6 March 2015. Operated by the Air Force, they are flown by Navy pilots.
The Kaman ASW choppers are to be operated from the Royal New Zealand Navy ANZAC class frigates F77 Te Kaha and F111 Te Mana, as well as from the multi-role vessel L421 Canterbury and offshore-patrol vessels of the Protector-class: P148 Otago and P55 Wellington. Eight will be operational, with the remainder two staying in reserve.