Bloomfield-based Kaman helping to fight western wildfires

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BLOOMFIELD-- The battle against those faraway western wildfires is getting some help from above, and nearby.

Kaman Aerospace, the Bloomfield-based company that makes the pilotless helicopter called the K-Max, has deployed eight of their machines to help fight the wildfires. Kaman, which collaborated with Lockheed Martin to create the K-Max, says their helicopters predominantly help firefighters on the ground by transporting water.

"The K-Max is a favorite of the forest service because of the amount of water it can carry and the cost of per flight hour," said Terry Fogarty, Kaman's director of business development for the K-Max project.

The K-Max is currently only is being flown in the United States with a pilot, but Kaman is hoping to change that in favor of utilizing its remote control capabilities, which can help to fight a wildfire around the clock.

"Imagine a fire starting at four or five in the afternoon," Fogarty said. "The Department of the Interior can't fight that fire until the next day. "If you have an unmanned capability they can go put that fire out right now."

Fogarty added that the company will perform a test flight on October 14 in Boise, Idaho for the government in hopes of getting the green light to operate the K-Max remotely.