DASH Weapon System

This is the home of the U.S. Navy's QH-50 DASH Weapon System (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter) built and managed by the Gyrodyne Company of New York.

    Although additional DASH procurement was cancelled by the Navy in September 1969, DASH continued to fly with the Navy until 1995, operating at China Lake Naval Aviation Weapon Center, California - 35 years after original deployment! Further, DASH drones were acquired by the U.S. ARMY as DASH came off ship and sent to fly in the desert of New Mexico where they continue to this day; flying missions no one hears about.

  To give you a better understanding on this truly unique vehicle and weapon system, one which has never been duplicated by any military organization in the world, this site is divided into 5 specific areas. Either click on the picture or the underlined text to go to the area of interest, and thank you for visiting!

     Seeking a better way to give Destroyers longer-range stand-off (operating at a greater distance from the enemy) weapons delivery capability, the Navy embarked on the development of using a droned co-axial helicopter to deliver torpedoes that was currently used in a manned configuration by the U.S. Marine Corp for scouting purposes. Built by a small firm in New York, the Gyrodyne Company was selected as prime contractor for this effort. From their first gasoline, Porsche powered DSN-1 to the turbine-engined QH-50D helicopter (seen left), Gyrodyne built and then managed the DASH Weapon System as one of the key "new weapon systems" installed during the Navy's efforts to revitalize their destroyers under the FRAM program.

   As part of the Educational mission of the Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation (GHHF), we present the complete curriculum required to learn how to operate a QH-50D Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) at the DASH FLIGHT SCHOOL. 
   At this site, you will be introduced to 10 sections that introduce and educate you to the SRW-4B Target Control system that controlled DASH as well as the specifics of the Engine, Rotor System, Electronic systems and Procedures of how to operate the system and its controls from both DECK and CIC stations. This section is what Drone controllers of DASH use to this day, and is therefore technical in nature but is the only place where you will learn how the only mass deployed UAV system in the history of modern warfare operated from Navy destroyers.

On the DASH MEMORIES page, we celebrate the remembrances of DASH Officers, crew and civilian personnel who share with the rest of us, what it was to fly DASH, keep it operating and Navy experiences with it. Some good and some bad!  
     This is our newest page and we ask all that have a story to tell, to please submit your article and picture to Gyrodyne_History@Yahoo.com. So, if you were the commander of a FRAM destroyer, Drone controller or Gyrodyne company employee associated with the DASH program, let us hear from you so your story can be told!

On the DASH WALL of HONOR page, we pay tribute to a selection of ships whose crew nominated their ship to be placed there. We also examine the artwork of the ship's plaques that were created at the time, some showing a DASH lineage!   

       If you served on a Naval vessel not listed and have a unique connection to DASH, please advise us at Gyrodyne_History@Yahoo.com and include the ships patch or banner and we will try to accommodate you.

The Story of DASH would not be complete without a bit of background on the weapon it carried- The MK-44 Homing Torpedo. As this Torpedo is still in use by some other governments, information and additional specifications will be released as it becomes available!

   Originally built to deliver a single MK-17 Nuclear Depth bomb (with W 44 warhead) outside the kill-radius of the Soviet fast-attack submarines of the time and therefore not survive the resulting blast, the QH-50 DASH was originally built as "a single-shot weapon".
        After DASH was deployed, however, only then did the Navy learn of the expensive safety measures required to secure the MK-17/ W 44 weapon on-ship and the combination was dropped. Then, with a stroke of a pen, DASH was declared "re-usable" by the Navy and reverted to carrying dual MK-44 homing torpedoes. However, this was not enough for democrat Congressman Sidney R. Yates of Illinois. He stated in 1969 DASH didn't work. He disclosed a GAO investigation! The findings? Read here about how the Navy failed DASH by acquiescing to political "hay-making" by Congressman Yates, a leading figure in the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities. By the way, DASH flies to this day, operated by the U.S. Army!


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Helicopter Historical Foundation
P.O. Box 3838, Reno, Nevada USA 89505

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Email us at: Gyrodyne_History@Yahoo.com

The name "Gyrodyne" in its stylized form above, is the Trademark of and owned by the Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation; unauthorized use is PROHIBITED by Federal Law.

All Photographs, technical specifications, and content are herein copyrighted and owned exclusively by Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation, unless otherwise stated.  All Rights Reserved 2013.

The Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation (GHHF) is a private foundation incorporated in the State of Nevada as a Non-profit organization. 

GHHF is dedicated to the advancement of the education and preservation of the history of the Ships, the Men and the Company that built, operated and flew the U.S. Navy's QH-50 Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) System and to the preservation of the history of the U.S. Army's past use of DASH.
Your support will allow for that work to continue.