Bronco at PAX


So, after Congress shut down the Navy’s plan to lease and operate four A-29B Super Tucanos in Afghanistan, it looks like the Navy has decided to try another tack.

Several OV-10 Broncos are still operational outside the DoD. Now comes word that the Navy has snagged one that NASA has been using and is apparently going to retrofit it to a combat capable role.

I’m stealing some info from a forum for veterans of VAL-4, the Navy squadron that operated the Bronco in Vietnam.

The following is provided courtesy of the OV-10 Bronco Association, Inc.  Thanks.

[redacted by XBrad] had the privilege of attending the first public showing of the updated OV-10G+ being operated by the Nay’s RCU-1, as a “Black Pony.” They are preparing a second airplane for light attack, battle field management and communications roles or as the unit calls it; “Find-Fix-Finish.” The airplanes are flown by Navy pilots with Marne WSO’s in the back seat. The ground crews include both Navy and Air Force personnel. This is not a Boeing project, it is a Navy program. The attached pictures and video were taken at NAS PAX river on March 22nd.

  If all goes well, this airplane will be joined by a second one. Both airplanes came from NASA and pervious to that were used by the State Department as spray airplanes. Before that, they belonged to the Marine Corps. If everything works out right, both airplanes will be here in Fort Worth for BroncoFest May 3 to 5, 2013.

  At present this project is proof of concept and is only funded through October. After that is anybody’s guess.

  You will notice there are no sponsons on the airplane. Those will be added soon. The normal configuration for the missions will be centerline and with external fuel and four seven shot pods for laser guided 2,75″ rockets.

Bronco image002 image003 image004 image005 image006 image007 image008 image009 image010

Funded through October means to the end of the current fiscal year. We’ll see what the FY14 budget has. I presume the impetus for this is coming from the special operations side of the house more than the NavAir side, and the fact that is as far along as it is says SPECWAR finds it pretty important. It wouldn’t suprise me a bit if they got money for next year, and maybe even another couple aircraft. There’s still quite a few Broncos out at the Boneyard.

And while they’ll eventually add the sponsons, I wouldn’t be surprised if they just forego installing the M60D guns in them. Mostly they’ll want the sponsons for holding the rocket pods.

As a long time fan of the OV-10, I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl. Why the heck didn’t we do this a decade ago?

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10 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Around the web, navy, planes

10 responses to “Bronco at PAX

  1. SFC Dunlap (Ret.) 173RVN

    The reason they didn’t do this before is that it made too much sense. Look also at the A-10 which quite nearly was chopped by the Air Force after they determined that F-16′s could do as good a job of CAS…yeah, uh-huh sure. The Tucanos do have a good rep and I believe what will happen is that after determining for what ever reason to not fund Tucanos, that the current configuration OV-10 program will draw raves in mission accomplishment, cost effectiveness, and overall performance at which time some numbskull in appropriations will want to re-open the OV-10 construction pipeline (which isn’t a bad thought on the surface), and offer the “new” OV-10′s for way beyond overinflated prices which will again, kill the OV-10. Jeez, the more things change…..

  2. Damn, I’ll have to pop across Rt. 235 to the base and check this out…

  3. Esli

    I like the OV10, but I am still a fan of making a new run of P47s with a whole bunch of .50 cal uploaded in the wings, some racks full of SDBs or Hellfires (Mavericks would be okay, i guess), and updated avionics. I think someone here tried to shoot me down on that once, but I don’t recall the case they made.

    • I did it.

      1. We already have Broncos. We’d have totally build new jigs for Jugs. And the R-2800s, probably.
      2. R-2800 run on high octane gas. Nasty stuff to have to haul around.
      3. OV-10G+ has roughly the same horsepower, and a better payload capacity. Plus, it’s already wired for some smart weapons, including Hellfire. Adding SDB shouldn’t be too hard.
      4. Yes, the Jug was legendary for its toughness. But take a look at the loss rate, and compared to any modern aircraft the rates were appalling.
      5. If you really, really want a gun, you could add the M60Ds, or I suppose modifying the sponsons to carry .50cal wouldn’t be too difficult. Or just hang a 20mm gun pod on the centerline. You could still hang two drops on the wing stations to keep the loiter time up.

    • LT Rusty

      So, Brad, what about the Enforcer then?

    • Not gonna happen. Sorry.

      Look, it’s a freakin’ miracle the Navy’s got 2 OV-10s funded through the year.

    • LT Rusty

      Well yeah, obviously the OV-10′s got a lock just through the end of the year, miraculous as it was, but I’m talking about Enforcer vs the Jug. Enforcer removes the avgas concern. The airframe has as much of a proven combat pedigree as the Jug. Wings are all set up for 6 .50′s.

      Skyraider would probably be a better choice, payload-wise, but it’s still got the avgas issue.

    • Esli

      Yes, a gun is a must. Would use 240s before M60D without a doubt. But would actually go with the new M2 .50 cal with fixed headspace and timing. Show me a Bronco with all that machine gun capacity. Not sure about the engine but I like to think we could do something about it.

  4. I understand having redundant engines but the bronco is a ugly beast. If I win the lottery I am buying a skyraider.

  5. SFC Dunlap (Ret.) 173RVN

    Do love the A-1′s….gotta given them their props, no pun intended, and they are already 20 mm capable/outfitted. I have to go with the Bronco though as they have some things the Skyraider does not have like a small team insertion capability. I’d go with a couple of underslung .50s and try to increase armament with accurised missle systems. Just my thought.