Kaman to end production of K-Max heavy helicopter


Connecticut-based helicopter manufacturer Kaman is to end production of its K-Max heavy lift helicopter, after concluding the aircraft does not “deliver the most compelling growth opportunity”. The decision is part of the company’s continuing cost-restructuring programme.

Kaman has manufactured 60 K-Max helicopters over the past 30 years. Typical heavy lift missions include: firefighting operations, construction and emergency response. The OEM said in a statement: “… given low demand and variation in annual deliveries, coupled with low profitability and large working capital inventory requirements, K-Max does not deliver the most compelling growth opportunity for Kaman …”.

The OEM will continue to support the operational fleet with repair capabilities, spare parts, and fleet services and training.

Ian K Walsh, chairman, president and CEO, Kaman said the decision to discontinue production was not taken lightly. “We value the tremendous contributions of our colleagues who worked to position Kaman for its next chapter of growth and success and are committed to supporting them through this transition,” he said. “We remain focused on advancing our strategic priorities to maximise Kaman’s performance for the benefit of our customers and shareholders.”

The latest measures, together with previously announced anticipated savings related to the Joint Programmable Fuze (JPF) programme consolidation, are expected to result in about $25m of annualised run-rate cost savings. Kaman is expecting to incur about $10m to $12m in total pre-tax restructuring charges associated with headcount reduction and personnel initiatives and at least $54m of non-cash charges related to the write-down of existing aircraft, contract costs, excess spare parts and equipment inventories. About $61m is expected to be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022, with the remainder expected during 2023 and 2024.

Walsh concluded: “We also believe these actions will help us de-lever and increase financial flexibility to continue investing in Kaman’s highest-margin, highest-quality assets and opportunities, positioning our company to better serve the end markets with the most favourable growth prospects.”

Founded in 1945, Kaman operates in the aerospace and defence, industrial and medical markets. In addition to helicopters, the manufacturer produced parts for helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Top and above: The K-Max delivers heavy lift missions in firefighting, construction and emergency response.

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