FRAM

   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! 

    With the Soviet submarine threat looming, the Navy faced a hard decision: build new ships or modernize the still-in-use Fletcher, Sumner, and Gearing class of Destroyers. While these remaining vessels were still in service, they were badly in need of overhaul of their machinery, hulls, and deck plating with their weapon systems obsolete. Enter the Navy's 1960 program called Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization (FRAM). By 1965, 168 U.S. Navy Destroyers had received FRAM reconstruction / modernization. Here we present the Fleet Destroyers, Destroyer Escorts and Destroyer Tenders of FRAM.  



     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 FRAM.



    ASROC or Anti-Submarine ROCket, was the Navy's answer to combat Submarines that were within a 5 1/2 mile (10,000 yards) range of the launching destroyer. Using the Mk-44 or Mk-46 acoustic homing torpedo as the payload, the MK-112 rocket-thrown-torpedo system was installed on the FRAM Mk-I ships and was the most successful Anti-Submarine Warfare system created by FRAM. In fact, only recently was ASROC retired from Navy Destroyers. Here is a history of ASROC and at the bottom, a FRAM ASROC loading protocol to show you what was involved with this weapon.



    Originally installed in 175 Fletcher class destroyers, the Mk 12 Mod 1, 5-inch/ 38 caliber gun was one of the most successful surface weapons of World War II. Either installed in a single barrel mount in the MK 30 gun mount or in the twin-barreled Mk 38 gun mount, each had the capability of firing a 55 pound projectile over a 9 mile distance, and the Fletcher/Sumner/Gearing class destroyers used these guns from WW II to Vietnam is support of U.S. naval and ground forces. Here, we present some information on this important destroyer weapon.

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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Helicopter Historical Foundation
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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.
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