Erickson Introduces the Next Generation Water Cannon for the S-64 Air Crane® Helicopter

The new water cannon can deploy faster, shoot farther, carry more water, and put out both urban fires and wildfires with ease.

March 8, 2022

Portland, ORE. – Erickson Incorporated, the leading operator, maintainer, and manufacturer of utility aircraft, today announced the next generation water cannon. The new water cannon will be available to customers in about a year, according to Manager of Autonomous Aircraft Development, Joey Sasser.  

The water cannon is an accessory that can be installed on the S-64 Air Crane® helicopter within a few hours, according to Sasser. It is in the final prototyping stage now and will be ready for customer installation by next spring.  

Sasser said that it is a complete overhaul from the earlier water cannon and is much more capable than anything else in today’s aerial firefighting marketplace.  

The next generation water cannon offers the following:  

  • Rapid installation on the S-64 Air Crane® helicopter 
  • Driven electrically via power generated by the aircraft drive system, rather than with hydraulic pumps, making the product lighter due to elimination of bulky hydraulic equipment 
  • Increased water flows from 200 gallons (about the volume of a large refrigerator) per minute to 900 gallons (about half the volume of a storage unit) per minute 
  • Increase stabilization of the water cannon through an inertial measurement unit that keeps the water cannon pointed at a fixed location despite movement of the aircraft 
  • Improvements in distance of water reach – can shoot 210 feet (approximate 3x the rotor disc diameter) from the ground, and can shoot side-to-side while in the air 
  • Articulation of the water cannon is now all directions – shoots forward, right to left, up and down, enabling safe operation and fires to be targeted more effectively 

According to Sasser, “The huge benefit of this design is that the system is significantly more capable than anything else on the market, ultimately allowing crews to put more water on hard-to-reach fires than ever before.” Sasser explained that the system, once released to the market, will demonstrate proof of the concept of a modern, accessible, and more effective water cannon. 

About Erickson  

Erickson is a leading global provider of aviation services specializing in manufacturing, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO), defense and national security, and commercial aviation services. Erickson is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the S-64 Air Crane® helicopter and the type certificate holder for the Bell 214ST & B/B1 platforms. Founded in 1971, Erickson is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, USA, and maintains operations in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and Australia.  

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