The Marines "made history" with the K-MAX last week when they successfully performed a "hot hookup," that is, attaching cargo to the aircraft while it was flying remotely. Kaman's unmanned cargo helicopter has been in Afghanistan for about six months now, in its trial period with the Marine Corps, and it's already moved over one million pounds of cargo in that time. Though the K-MAX has been used commercially, primarily in logging, for 20 years, this is the first time cargo was attached to it in unmanned mid-flight. In the photo above, Marines with the Combat Logistics Battalion 5 head towards a hovering K-MAX in the Helmand province, Afghanistan to perform another hot hookup; they'll continue practicing the procedure for another month.
DVIDS / Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot