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The Bronco

In the 1960's, when the war in Vietnam was in full swing, there emerged an aircraft that was quite unspectacular compared to the supersonic jets of the era like the F-4 Phantom and the F-100. However, the slow and sturdy plane would prove in the long run, just as useful. It is the OV-10 Bronco.

The Bronco was contrived by two Marine Corps Majors, K.P. Rice and William H. Beckett, who realized that with the Navy and Airforce preoccupied with slick, swept-winged jets, the conventional weapons necessary for the close air support of ground forces were forgotten. Thus, they decided to create a plane that will fill in that role, and the Bronco was born. The plane envisioned by the two was a sturdy observation plane that could also attack enemy forces on the spot. It was twin-engined and was capable not only of taking off and landing on short runways but on runways in adverse conditions.

The Bronco was used as a Forward Air Controller (FAC), that calls in artillery, fighter-bombers, or naval gun support to eliminate enemy threats to friendly ground forces. It can also call in Medevacs or helicopters to evacuate ground forces in tight situations.


Armament...

The Bronco has 4 machine guns attached to sponsons under the fuselage and a centerline station for a 20 mm cannon. The OV-10 can also carry up to 2 400 more pounds of explosives such as rockets, missiles, and bombs on the sponsons.

Besides bombs and guns, the Bronco can carry up to 4 paratroopers into battle or injured personnel out.

Weaknesses...

The Bronco, however, had its weaknesses. It lacker power and was vulnerable to groundfire because it often flew at a low altitude and was quite slow.

Into the modern battlefield...

The Bronco continued to be in service until after Operation Desert Storm when the Marine Corps decided to retire it due its slow speed, making it highly vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire. Of the 20 sent in Iraq, 2 were shot down.
Right now, Boeing is working on a newer, modernized version of the Bronco. Although the airframe will not change a lot, the Bronco will have a fully computerized cockpit and will be able to carry newer armament. The centline 20 mm machine gun, for example, will be upgraded to a 30 mm cannon.

Specifications...

OV-10A

Data from Mesko

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 41 ft 7 in (12.67 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 2 in (4.62 m)
  • Wing area: 290.95 ft² (27.03 m²)
  • Empty weight: 6,893 lb (3,127 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 14,444 lb (6,552 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2× Garrett T76-G-410/412 turboprop, 715 hp (533 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 281 mph (452 km/h)
  • Range: 576 mi (927 km)
  • Service ceiling: 24,000 ft (7,315 m)

Armament

  • Guns: 4 × 7.62x51mm M60C machine guns
  • Total stores stations: 5 fuselage and 2 underwing
  • Bombs: Bombs up to 500 lb
  • Rockets: 7- or 19-tube launchers for 2.75" FFARs or 2- or 4-tube launchers for 5" FFARs
  • Missiles: AIM-9 Sidewinder (Wing pylons only)
  • Other: SUU-11/A or Mk 4 Mod 0 gun pods

OV-10D

Data from Mesko

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 44 ft 0 in (13.41 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 2 in (4.62 m)
  • Wing area: 290.95 ft² (27.03 m²)
  • Empty weight: 6,893 lb (3,127 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 9,908 lb (4,494 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 14,444 lb (6,552 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2× Garrett T76-G-420/421 turboprop, 1,040 hp (775.5 kW) each
  • *Tailplane Span 14 ft, 7 in (4.45 m)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 288 mph (463 km/h)
  • Range: 1,382 mi (2,224 km)
  • Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,159 m)

Armament

  • Guns: 1x 20 mm (.79 in) M197 cannon (YOV-10D) or 4x 7.62x51mm M60C machine guns (OV-10D/D+)
  • Total stores stations: 5 fuselage (OV-10D/D+ only) and 2 underwing
  • Bombs: Bombs up to 500 lb (227 kg)
  • Rockets: 7- or 19-tube launchers for 2.75" FFARs/2.75" WAFARs or 2- or 4-tube launchers for 5" FFARs or WAFARs
  • Missiles: AIM-9 Sidewinder (Wing pylons only)

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