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CT drone helicopter maker Kaman being acquired for $1.8 billion

April 07, 2024

Charles Kaman founded the company in 1945, which became an early helicopter pioneer on the heels of Sikorsky in Stratford. Kaman was the runner up to produce a utility helicopter for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, with the Bell “Huey” Iroquois becoming synonymous with the war.

Kaman found a niche producing SeaSprite helicopters that could land on naval ships for reconnaissance patrols and other duties.

Kaman is now developing a drone cargo helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps with anticipated “fly off” demonstrations planned for later this year. The Kargo drone resembles a flying box with overhead rotors, with the ability to take off vertically and carry 800 pounds of material more than 100 miles, and lighter loads up to 500 miles. The Army has also expressed interest in Kargo.

“I think we’re in good shape,” CEO Ian Walsh told investment analysts last November during a conference call. “We obviously have a very important program with Kargo.”

Over the years, the company’s bigger business has been producing high-tech fuzes that detonate guided bombs and missiles, and components for aircraft including ball bearings and seals. In 2022, Kaman spent $442 million to acquire Parker-Hannifin’s aircraft wheel and brake business in Avon, Ohio.

Kaman reported $6 million in profits over the first nine months of last year, with revenue up 17 percent to $573 million.

Entering last year, Kaman reported a total workforce of just over 3,000 people. In addition to its headquarters manufacturing plant in Bloomfield, Kaman has production facilities in Middletown, Vermont, Kansas, Ohio, Colorado, California, and Florida, with plans to close its Orlando facility there this year; and in Germany and the Czech Republic.

The company consolidated fuze production last year in Middletown.


(c) 2024 Journal Inquirer

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