Lockheed Martin announced Monday that its K-MAX drone helicopters, which were used previously only to lift cargo for the military, soon will be used for search and rescue operations.
Lockheed Martin successfully tested at the end of March, had a drone ground vehicle find and check out a similated injured party, which then called in an airlift from the drone helicopter. The people with the injured person then figure out where to land the helicopter and strap their casualty to a seat on the side of the drone, which then flies to safety at almost 100 mph.
“This application of the unmanned K-MAX enables day or night transport of wounded personnel to safety without endangering additional lives,” said Jay McConville, director of business development for the Lockheed Martin division responsible for the K-MAX project.
“Since the K-MAX returned from a nearly three-year deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps, we’ve seen benefits of and extended our open system design incorporating the UCS Architecture, which allows rapid integration of new applications across industry to increase the safety of operations, such as casualty evacuation, where lives are at stake.”McCovville said.
It's also a good way to recycle the K-MAX drones after they ended their three years and 1,9000-plus cargo moving missions for the U.S. Marine Corps, he said.
“And there's the obvious benefits for civilian life too. Search and rescue by drone could save lost and injured campers or people out at sea in a way that is both more effective and less expensive than using manned missions.” McConvville added.