A rendering of Kaman's Kargo UAV, meant for cargo delivery via a conformal pod or external sling load. (Kaman)
Kaman unveiled its Kargo medium-lift unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) concept on 21 September. The four-rotor fly-by-wire design is meant to carry cargo in a conformal pod or external sling load configuration, and is aimed broadly at potential US Marine Corps (USMC) and US Army requirements.
The Kargo UAV is intended to self-deploy with no payload up to 523 n miles, and with a maximum lift capacity of 363 kg.
Ian Walsh, CEO of Kaman Corporation, told reporters the company is flying a 50% scale model, working off its own internal research and development funding. Kaman plans to build a full-scale model to fly by the end of this year or early next year, he said.
“We chose a fossil fuel engine,” said Romin Dasmalchi, senior director of business development and government at Kaman. This is meant to keep costs down and enable rapid fielding, but he added that the company does want to explore hybrid power for future projects.
The system fits in a standard shipping container and “is designed to be unloaded and operated by as few as two people”, the company said.
The company's work with the USMC “mostly centres around Unmanned Logistics Systems Air [ULS-A]”: a marine concept that envisions fielding a ULS-A small, ULS-A medium, and ULS-A large.
The USMC wants to move ahead with ULS-A medium first and Kaman is aiming to fit into that space with Kargo, Dasmalchi said. “Those requirements are being drafted now.”