Unmanned Helicopter Makes First Delivery for Marines in Afghanistan
Unmanned Helicopter Makes
First Delivery for Marines in Afghanistan
By Cpl. Justin M. Boling, 2nd
Marine Aircraft Wing.
Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan -- (USMC)
December 23, 2011 -- Unmanned systems have revolutionized combat aviation,
providing a colossal advantage in the fight against terror with surveillance and
Recently, a detachment of Marines from Marine Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle Squadron 1 in Afghanistan added aerial resupply to the list of UAV
Cpl. Justin M. Boling
The detachment completed its first unmanned aerial system
cargo delivery in a combat zone using a helicopter in Afghanistan, Dec. 17.
“We delivered cargo today that was supposed to be delivered
by convoy, now that convoy has three pallets that it does not have to carry,
“explained Maj. Kyle O’Connor, the officer-in-charge of the squadron’s cargo
resupply unmanned aerial system detachment.
Cpl. Justin M. Boling Photo
“It is a milestone, certainly. We have delivered a lot of
loads in the States during training, testing and evaluation,” said Steven
Athanas, a representative from Lockheed Martin. “Now that we have integrated it
into the battlespace, we have gone from what you think can happen -- to what can
A human-piloted variant of the K-MAX helicopter was first
developed in the 1990s. The manned version is used for heavy-lifting in
corporate industry, including logging.
“This is a demonstration phase to test the true capabilities
of this aircraft and how well it can perform its job in a combat environment,”
said O’Connor. “With every flight in theater we are collecting data, and at the
end of the day we are going to look at all of that data and decide whether or
not to make it a program of record.”
“During this phase we will be making some adjustments to make
it easier to use, but mostly I think the biggest adjustments will be seeing how
many different ways we can use the unmanned aerial system,” said Athanas.
At the end of a six month assessment in Afghanistan, the
Marine Corps will have the option to fully implement the platform.