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Kaman searches for new orders to extend K-Max production

Kaman faces a decision within 60 days to produce a second batch of K-Max helicopter on a recently revived assembly line, says Terry Fogarty, the company's business development director.

Working under a two-month deadline to avoid a break in production, Kaman's sales team were scrambling during the Heli-Expo convention to finalise negotiations on multiple potential deals.

"That's why this show is so important to us," Fogerty says.

Any new buyers may be waiting to see Kaman deliver a new K-Max helicopter for the first time since 2003, when assembly of the medium-sized, heavy-lift helicopter ceased until it was revived a year ago.

Kaman plans to deliver the first in a batch of 10 K-Max helicopters next month to a Chinese dealer, which has resold the aircraft to a firefighting operator in China, Fogerty says.

The last of the initial 10 aircraft will be delivered early next year, he adds.

Kaman restarted production after a 13-year hiatus due to heavy demand for the K-Max to lift up to 2,720kg (6,000lb), leveraging a distinctive inter-meshing rotor system.

The new aircraft are powered by used Honeywell T53 engines, featuring new rotating components manufactured by Mint Turbines, Fogerty says.

If a second batch of production is launched, Kaman will evaluate replacing some obsolete avionics components, but no other upgrades are planned, he says.

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