In January 1944, the P-V Engineering Forum received a contract from the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics for a prototype of a large, tandem-rotor rescue helicopter, designated the HRP. It was based on the much smaller, single-rotor PV-2 that had been demonstrated to the Navy the previous October. In order to meet the desired 1,800-lb payload requirement, a huge increase over any existing American helicopter, P-V utilized two rotors turning in opposite directions. The result was P-V’s first production program and the genesis of the Piasecki Helicopter Company, which is known today as the Vertical Lift Division of Boeing Military Aircraft.
The prototype PV-3, as it was designated by the company, was called “The Dogship,” with the military designation XHRP-X. The aircraft served with the U.S. Navy (35 HRP-1s built) and the U.S. Coast Guard (3 HRP-1G built). Five aircraft with metal skins were also built as the HRP-2.
By Tommy Thomason