The US Marine Corps (USMC) is set to deploy the unmanned K-MAX cargo helicopter in Afghanistan next month to augment ground and air logistics operations.

The heavy-lift drone chopper has recently completed a five-day quick reaction assessment for the US Navy’s cargo unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) programme to prove its cargo-carrying capability.

The K-MAX surpassed navy and marine requirements to deliver 6,000 pounds of cargo a day and has concluded training and flight tests at a base in Twentynine Palms, California, US.

Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace teamed in 2007 to transform Kaman’s manned power-lift helicopter into a drone that is capable of performing autonomous or remote-controlled cargo delivery.

Kaman created the airframe while Lockheed designed the helicopter’s mission management and control systems.