Erickson and Sikorsky have signed a development agreement aimed at tackling the future of firefighting in the 21st century.
Erickson will work to develop the next generation of pilot optional night time firefighting solutions, integrating Sikorsky's Matrix technology into a digitally enabled fire management system never before used in night firefighting. With next generation flight controls and navigation systems powered by Matrix, Erickson will enhance cockpit awareness and flight crew safety during day and night operations. Erickson's goal is to enhance its customers' existing firefighting strategy, using technology to improve safety and protect lives, homes and property.
Currently night time firefighting is complex and dangerous, making for a massive challenge in the market that needs to be solved in the safest way possible. Both legacy manufacturers are committed to developing a safe alternative to night vision goggles, providing new and innovative ways to enhance the safety for pilots not yet used in the commercial market.
This endeavour will be cost effective, yet executed in the safest manner in order to tackle the world's largest fires at night.
“We are pleased to be working on this important initiative with Sikorsky, with whom we have a long history,” says CEO Doug Kitani. “Since adopting care of the S-64 global fleet in 1994, Erickson has continuously modernised the platform to support critical missions.”
Erickson has been the original equipment manufacturer of the S-64 since 1994. Matrix technology is one piece of its new suite of firefighting technologies and modifications to the S-64 Air Crane platform.
The company is also to launch a new production line of the legacy Air Crane helicopter, the S-64F+. Recent aircraft orders and deliveries have signalled a demand for the S-64 as a firefighting platform of the future, and it will transition to new production aircraft with the future introduction of the S-64F+.
The S-64F+ will incorporate a modern engine, enhancing range and fuel efficiency; new composite main rotor blades; and enhanced cockpit and flight control system; and improved water cannon.
Erickson has identified the investment in product, plant and equipment (PP&E) required to support its customers and these initiatives.