Military Factory logo
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of navy warships
Icon of a dollar sign
Icon of military officer saluting
National Flag Graphic

Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH

Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter


The Gyrodyne H-50 DASH served the U.S. military primarily in the ASW role for a number of decades before becoming a target tug.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 9/11/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
To meet the rapidly expanding capabilities of the Soviet submarine force in the late-1950s and early-1960s, the United States Navy enacted the "Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization" (FRAM) program allowing older, World War 2-era surface warships (namely destroyers) to be quickly and appropriately modernized for future service as submarine hunters. Since the wartime vessels were designed with surface combat in mind, the program was intended to configure the existing lot to become effective Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) platforms. Veterans like USS Laffey (DD-724) were given the conversion and, part of her augmented capabilities included facilities to operate the Gyrodyne QH-50 "DASH" (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter) unmanned drone aircraft.

Seven hundred fifty-five of the type were built and operators included both the United States Navy and Army services as well as the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force for a time. Production ranged from 1962 to 1969 with service introduction occurring in 1963. A first-flight was recorded in 1959.

Gyrodyne based its DASH on the RON Rotorcycle product - a single-seat manned, scout-minded helicopter system developed for the United States Navy (specifically the USMC) and first-flown on November 23rd, 1955. It was itself an evolution of the Bendix Model 2C and ten were built. The new unmanned helicopter, launched from warship decks and expendable as military assets (many off-the-shelf components were used in its construction), was realized through the "DSN-1" and this aircraft was driven by a Porsche YO-95-6 series piston engine of 72 horsepower. A pair of two-bladed main rotors were set coaxially (eliminating torque) over the design on a single mast. The body of the aircraft was essentially the exposed engine itself with no skinning used. The undercarriage was a simple skid arrangement - rugged enough for deck operations. Initial armament was a single Mark 43 series torpedo. The DSN-1 served as pre-production models and nine were completed.

Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH (Cont'd)

Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter

Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH (Cont'd)

Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter

Control was by remote with one operator managing the take-off and landing actions and primary operation handled by another operator in the Combat Information Center (CIC) section of the warship. Early-form aircraft did not carry cameras so the operators were essentially "flying blind" post-take-off.

Then followed the DSN-2 which carried two of the Porsche engines for increased power though only a single torpedo was still carried. Considered another pre-production quality model, the DSN-2 series was produced in just three examples.

The DSN-3 shifted to a Boeing T50-4 turboshaft engine which increased power (300 horsepower), allowing the aircraft to carry into battle two of the Mark 43 torpedoes. Three hundred seventy-three of this mark were produced.

After the 1962 U.S. military realignment, the DSN series was redesignated to "QH-50" and this resulted in the DSN-1 becoming the "QH-50A", the DSN-2 becoming the "QH-50B" and the DSN-3 becoming the "QH-50C". The QH-50D carried a more powerful Boeing T50-12 turboshaft engine of 365 horsepower output and a further 377 aircraft followed in production based on this standard.

The QH-50DM mark were ten DASH drones with modified Boeing engines and intended for the United States Army as reconnaissance platforms. They served in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) from September of 1959 until April of 1975 (the DASH program officially ended in 1969).

The YQH-50E were a collection of three DASH aircraft fitted with Allison T63-A-5A engines. The QH-50F was to be its in-service designation but the mark was not adopted. The QH-50H was yet-another proposed service model, this to carry two engines with wider-span rotor blades and a larger body. However it too was not adopted.

The Japanese Navy operated a stock of twenty DASH drones from several of its destroyer groups. These lasted until 1977.


YEAR: 1963
MANUFACTURER(S): Gyrodyne Company of America - USA
LENGTH: 12.96 ft (3.95 m)
WIDTH: 20.01 ft (6.1 m)
HEIGHT: 9.68 ft (2.95 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 1,157 lb (525 kg)
MTOW: 2,282 lb (1,035 kg)
POWER: 1 x Boeing T50-BO-8A turboshaft engine developing 300 horsepower driving 2 x two-bladed main rotors in a co-axial configuration.
SPEED: 92 mph (148 kph; 80 kts)
CEILING: 16,404 feet (5,000 m; 3.11 miles)
RANGE: 82 miles (132 km; 71 nm)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,880 ft/min (573 m/min)
OPERATORS: Japan; United States

1 OR 2 x Mk 44 OR Mk 46 series torpedoes.
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Variants / Models

• QH-50 - Base Series Designation
• DSN-1 - Initial form; preproduction model; nine examples completed; fitted with 1 x Porsche YO-95-6 piston engine of 72 horsepower.
• DSN-2 - Secondary form; preproduction model; three examples completed; fitted with 2 x Porsche engines.
• DSN-3 - Third form; production model; 373 examples completed; 1 x Boeing T50-4 turboshaft engine of 255 horsepower.
• QH-50A - Redesignation of DSN-1 in 1962.
• QH-50B - Redesignation of DSN-2 in 1962.
• QH-50C - Redesignation of DSN-3 in 1962.
• QH-50D - Boeing T50-12 turboshaft engine of 365 horsepower; 377 examples delivered.
• QH-50DM - U.S. Army reconnaissance model for Vietnam War service; ten examples modified.
• YQH-50E - Developmental model with Allison T63-A-5A engine; three examples completed.
• QH-50F - Proposed in-service designation for YQH-50E
• QH-50H - Proposed twin-engined QH-50F model; widened main rotor blades; enlarged fuselage.

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (92mph).

Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Gyrodyne QH-50C's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (755)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Site Map Site content ©2003-, All Rights Reserved.

The "Military Factory" name and logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, and, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo