Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization or as it was called, "FRAM", was a program to extend the useful lives of World War II era U.S. Navy ships, specifically destroyers, at a time the Eisenhower Administration was seeking major cuts in U.S. defense spending. Yet during this time, the Navy faced an ominous threat as over 300 Soviet fast-attack submarines were in service by 1957 while at the same time, U.S. naval destroyers were faced with "Block Obsolescence" due to their inability to meet this threat.
Known as "31-Knot Burke" for his exploits as a destroyer squadron commander in the pacific theatre during World War II, now Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh Burke (1902-1996) (seen right-examining a QH-50C DASH on the USS Anderson at San Diego on Sept. 1, 1962) sought ways to save the precious destroyers of the U.S. Navy he had once commanded during his battles in the South Pacific during World War II against the Japanese and make them capable of facing the modern Soviet submarine threat. His solution was not just to overhaul the machinery but to install the weapons of the time that were state-of-the-art and in many ways, those weapon systems remain that way to this very day.
To counter the growing strategic threat the Russian submarine force was forecasted to pose with long range torpedoes in the 1960's, Admiral Burke found a solution to that problem in a combination of "stand-off" weapon systems called DASH and ASROC.
ASROC (Anti-Submarine ROCket) (seen left) was the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) system for 1-5 mile ranges. DASH (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter) was a 900 lb Coaxial drone helicopter with ASW ranges to 22 miles. While both ASROC and DASH delivered the same weapon, that being the MK-44 Torpedo, DASH was special in that it could be recalled if the target turned out to be friendly. DASH also was reusable; something ASROC was not.
FRAM was not a simple process. It involved reconstruction of 3 classes of destroyers, 3 classes of Destroyer Escorts, and the Destroyer Tenders that would keep those Destroyers armed and supplied. Differing among classes of destroyers, the FRAM application was different for each class and extensive- the FRAM destroyer not only had its' hull and machinery refurbished, but a new superstructure was installed as well. The Sumner and Gearing (a fourteen-foot stretch version of the Sumner class) class destroyers held the greatest promise for expansion of its platform into a force multiplier. There were two levels of FRAM- FRAM MK I & MK II:1. FRAM MK I - developed primarily for the Gearing class (USS PERRY (DD-844) seen right), it was a complete reconstruction of the ship and much more than FRAM II. FRAM I included the rebuilding of the superstructure, rehabilitated the engines and electronics and installed ASROC, DASH, SQS-23 Sonar System, a new air-search, height-finding and SPS-10 surface search radar and two triple MK 32 torpedo launchers. FRAM MK I required the destroyer to lose one of it's twin 5-inch/38 cal. gun mounts. FRAM I extended the life of a destroyer by 8 years.
2. FRAM II - developed primarily for the Sumners class but did include most versions of Gearings, was mostly a modernization program, however, not all Sumners received FRAM (20) and not all Sumners that were, received DASH. Typical FRAM II extended the life of a destroyer by about 5 years, installed DASH, MK 32 torpedo launcher, new air search, height and surface search radar and variable depth sonar (VDS).
On this Page, we present to you the Navy Destroyers that received FRAM, information on ASROC and DASH as well as the business end of a DD; its 5 inch/38 cal. gun. Click on a picture/button below and enjoy your journey into history!
Special Thanks to Ed Zajkowski and The National Destroyermens' Museum, USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. DD850 for ALL FRAM photos shown on this site. Thank you!
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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.