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Fri, Oct 14, 2022

Update: Kaman to Create USMC Version of Upcoming Kargo UAV

US Marine Corps Selects Quadrotor VTOL for Autonomous Logistics in Austere Environments

Kaman Air Vehicles has announced their selection to create an uncrewed logistics aircraft for the United States Marine Corps. 

The aircraft will be a modified variant of the Kaman Kargo UAV, a purpose-built autonomous medium-lift logistics vehicle. The Kargo, a quadrotor VTOL, is slated to carry up to 800 lbs of payload for more than 500 nautical miles with ease. In line with its military-ready bonafides, the Kargo system is designed to happily operate out of the most austere environments. With a top speed of 121 kts and a max ceiling of 10,000 ft, the Kargo could someday offer an invaluable logistical capability for personnel on the ground, being able to unfold from a single standard sized shipping container with the aid of 2 handlers to ready it for flight. Once ready, the Kargo can be laden with an external slingload or inside its conformal supply pod. 

Once the new variant of the Kargo is completed, it will go on to complete a Field User Capability Assessment to gauge how closely it aligns with USMC hopes. After all, the Kargo UAV is a young project, first taking flight as a scaled demonstrator in Fall 2021 as a proof of concept. So far, a sole 1:1 scale demonstrator is under construction, expected to take flight sometime in 2022. Kaman has partnered with Pennsylvania company Near Earth Autonomy to provide the aircraft's autonomous systems for use on the USMC prototype, maintaining their focus on the aircraft itself. 

The company appears quite content with the USMC arrangement, with media highlighting the Kargo in Marine Corps livery, camouflage, and personnel. Any such project would be happy to partner with the infamous Marine Corps, and its unique service demands grant quite a feather in the cap of whatever company ultimately gains their approval. 

“We have been tracking the need for expeditionary logistics for some time,” said Carroll Lane, President of Kaman’s Precision Products segment. “And we are thrilled to see our focused R&D efforts to provide an affordable, reliable, and maintainable logistics vehicle come into alignment with such an important program as MULS-A.”

FMI: www.kaman.com

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