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Gyrodyne QH-50C and QH-50D Drones:

The QH-50 drone was developed to provide a long range standoff weapon system against enemy submarines. Utilized in conjunction with information provided from the SQS-23 SONAR system, the reusable Drone Anti-submarine Helicopter (DASH) system enabled the hunting Destroyer to destroy an enemy submarine prior to the submarine being within attacking distance of the Destroyer.

QH-50C Drone Anti-submarine Helicopter (DASH):

The Model QH-50C Drone is a remotely controlled rotary-wing ASW weapon carrier designed to deliver alternate weapon loads of 750 lb or 850 lb. Combat radius of the-drone is about 30 nautical miles, depending on loading condition, at a cruising speed of 80 knots. The combat mission includes a 12 minute hovering capability at the target prior to release of weapon(s). The drone incorporates two two-bladed counter-rotating coaxial rotors of the semi-rigid (see-saw) type.  The blades are of laminated wood construction, incorporating taper in planform and thickness and 12' negative twist. The machine is completely controllable through the rotors. Rotor controls are operated by the automatic stabilization and remote control equipment.

Control in pitch and roll is obtained through conventional cyclic pitch control. Control in yaw is achieved by means of rotor blade tip air (drag) brakes, which provide positive directional control in all flight regimes. Directional stability in forward flight is provided by means of two vertical tail surfaces. The power plant is the 300 hp T50-BO-8A gas turbine engine built by the Industrial Products Division of the Boeing Airplane Co.

QH-50C DS-1284 was originally operated off USS Nicholas (DD-449) in the 1960s.  This DASH unit was later provided to the US Army along with most other US Navy program assets and remained in White Sands, NM until 2001.  At that time, volunteers Mike and Rich Angelini flew out to New Mexico to retrieve DS-1284 and brought her with a truck load of original DASH command and control equipment back to USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr (DD-850).


Reconnaissance and surveillance with the QH-50 was developed by a inventive officer aboard the USS Blue. With WESTPAC Destroyers working on the gunline off Vietnam, these intrepid thinkers developed what would be called SNOOPY. Equipped with a real-time TV camera and flying from the same destroyer platforms it used for its ASW role, SNOOPY joined the fleet in January 1965. The SNOOPY program provided Destroyers an "over-the-horizon situational awareness" in order to more accurately target the Destroyer's 5" guns and provide immediate gunnery correction. SNOOPY was used with great success off Vietnam and began the military's use of unmanned aerial vehicles to provide intelligence.


Though all SNOOPY units were lost in combat or accident, one SNOOPY QH-50D model exists aboard JPK DD850 due to the Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation which manufactured the unit from original production hardware.

Representing the world's only example of DASH aircraft exhibited in its original environs, the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr's restored DASH hangar and helicopter was dedicated by Peter Papadakos, son of the man who founded the Gyrodyne enterprise, or what Papadakos, who has worked on DASH virtually his whole life, calls, "the family business."


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