KAMAN AEROSPACE CORPORATION
Founded 1945 by Charles H Kaman. Developed servo-flap control of helicopter main rotor, initially in contrarotating two-blade main rotors, and still used in SH-2G Super Seasprite four-blade main rotor and on the K-MAX. R&D programmes sponsored by US Army, Air Force, Navy and NASA include advanced design of helicopter rotor systems, blades and rotor control concepts, component fatigue life determination and structural dynamic analysis and testing. In late 2001, company was said to be in early conceptual stages for a multirole helicopter of similar size to the NH90, with a cabin wide enough to admit stretchers stowed widthways. Kaman has also undertaken helicopter drone programmes since 1953; is continuing advanced research in rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Kaman's intermeshing rotor system design was a key ingredient in the combination put together by the Northrop Grumman team in a successful bid to become one of two competitors to continue into the next phase of the DARPA/US Army Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR) programme. Kaman is also pursuing US Army interest in an unmanned logistics UAV. Following a USMC demonstration of the K-MAX/BURRO (Broad-area Unmanned Responsive Resupply Operations) in 2001, a demonstration to the US Army was completed in June 2003; a second, for the aviation community, was planned for the fourth quarter of 2003.
Kaman is major subcontractor on many aircraft and space programmes, including design, tooling and fabrication of components in metal, metal honeycomb, bonded and composites construction, using techniques such as filament winding, braiding and RTM. Participates in programmes including Northrop Grumman E-2C, Bell Boeing V-22, Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 wing trailing-edge, KC-135 and C-17, Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66, Sikorsky UH-60 and SH-60, and NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter main fuel tank. It also designs and produces fuzes for a range of weaponry.
Kaman designed and, since 1977, has been producing all-composites rotor blades for Bell AH-1 Cobras for US and foreign forces. Appointed in April 2000 to build fuselages for MD helicopters' single-engine line (MDH 500, 520, 530 and 600) under 10-year contract; a further contract to build MDH Explorer rotor blade systems was awarded in July 2000.
KAC's activities were reorganised in early 2002 into three new business units, of which Helicopter Programs has responsibility for the Super Seasprite and K-MAX described in the following entries. Aerostructures Subcontracting in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and Jacksonville, Florida, focuses on non-rotary-wing aircraft programmes including commercial airliner wing structures and components; major structural assemblies for military transports; aircraft thrust reversers; and business jet subassembly components. Helicopter Subcontracting, also with operations in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and Jacksonville, Florida, undertakes work on helicopter airframes, composites rotor blades and components, including manufacture of MD 500 and MD 600 airframes for MD Helicopters. In early 2002, Kaman acquired Plastic Fabrication Company of Wichita, Kansas, a manufacturer of composites parts and assemblies for aerospace applications.
Kaman Aerospace International Corporation was established in 1995 as the international affiliate of Kaman Aerospace with offices in Canberra and Nowra, Australia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Cairo, Egypt; and Bloomfield, Connecticut.
Net sales of Kaman's Aerospace business were US$382.7 million in 1998, US$371.8 million in 1999, US$381.9 million in 2000, US$301.6 million in 2001 and US$275.9 million in 2002. The company employs 1,200 people.