Will the OV-10 ride again?

TDL’s pals at Inside the Air Force (subscriber-only) got thescoop of the week, in my opinion. Boeing is apparently pitching a new — andreally improved — version of the OV-10 Bronco for the counter-insurgencymission.




As the Air Forcecontemplates a requirement for a light-attack plane, Boeing has internally puttogether plans to build a souped-up modernized version of the Vietnam-era OV-10Bronco, Inside the Air Force has learned.


While thetwin-engine plane would maintain much of its 1960s-vintage rugged externaldesign, the 21st Century edition would feature a computerized cockpit,intelligence sensors and smart-bomb-dropping capabilities, according to anOV-10(X) product card obtained by ITAF. The Chicago defense-giant has quietly beencirculating plans at military-sponsored events across the country that detailhow the company could rebuild and modernize the Bronco, according to Pentagonand industry officials.


I immediately called Jim “Grump” Hodgson,president of the OV-10 Bronco Association. About three years ago, senior US military officials contacted Hodgson’s group,asking about the availability of OV-10s to help solve the improvised explosivedevice problem in Iraq.


Unfortunately, Hodgson couldn’t give them good news. Only afew OV-10s were left in the boneyard, and most of the rest were in activecombat service in Colombia, Indonesia, Philippinesand Venezuela.


Hodgson said several members of his group are aware ofnew Boeing’s plans for the OV-10. Interest is growing internationally in restartingproduction. The US Air Force also might consider it, but, as theITAF story reports, it would compete for the role agains the T-6B Texan II,AT-67 Dragon and EMB-314 Super Tucano.


The sudden appeal of the old OV-10 — even in an agedominated by Predator drones — doesn’t surprise Hodgson.


“It doesn’t make any different how good your UAVis,” he said. “Nothing replaces a couple of eyeballs on a head thatmoves around.” 


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5 Responses to Will the OV-10 ride again?

  1. Prom 26 January, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    nice! I take a new Bronco over a UAV ever day!

  2. ramjet 7 October, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    Properly executed, a modernized OV-10 could be a very capable, flexible, and highly relevant platform in several, if not most, of the missions in the COIN spectrum. A new Bronco could embody many advantages unavailable to the Texan II or Super Tucano. The most obvious of these is twin-engine safety in hostile fire situations. Ask the crews of the two Caravans that were lost in Colombia, while Skymasters operated safely for years in the same AO. Rather like when the USAF decided to replace the O-1 Bird Dogs with O-2 Skymasters in SEA.
    The new Bronco will be much more STOL and rough field capable, due to it’s power loading, and high wing design for greater prop clearance. The cavernous fuselage bay could host several crew or pax, a quick-change sensor/SIGINT pallet, and/or aux. fuel for rapid self-deployment. The tiny turn radius is ideally suited for moutainous terrain. A belly-mounted turret could provide the advantages of an AC-130 gunship on a smaller scale that would be more quickly available to TIC and to provide CAS for SPECOPS. The idea here is to provide a wide range of required and validated operating capabilities in a highly responsive way. Doctrine to support its employment must include basing as far forward as possible, preferably with troops at patrol bases for direct liaison with ground forces. The Marines know how to do this. If the USAF doesn’t buy into forward basing, then give them to the Army. The Bronco COULD be more suitable for forward basing than helos. Less maintenance, less frequent fueling due to higher endurance. Higher dash speed to/from rear support bases. So…you go Boeing!
    6-7 blade composite props, 30mm turret-mounted gun system.
    Roll-on, Roll-off sensor booth, Multi-sensor w/full-motion video up/down link, STOL enhancements, modern powerplants, lightweight armor, yadda yadda

  3. K. Crater 14 February, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    As a former Marine, I am hopeful that someone inside Requisitions at HQMC has been paying attention to this.
    Regardless of what the USAF decides, the USMC should be pursuing OV-10X’s for all they’re worth.
    Just my humble $0.02 worth.

  4. Florentina Haitz 24 July, 2010 at 2:46 am #

    Some people just dont understand, patents are needed otherwise, when the inventor cant sell his product. the real networks Philosophy… “When you can’t sell your products on your own, just sue anyone else that does the job better.”

  5. Navy SEAL Watches 10 January, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    I have always been interested in Navy SEALs and although I couldn’t enlist, I bought myself a cool Navy SEAL watch. Girls pay much more attention to me now. =)
    Concerning the topic, I should say that I couldn’t agree more. You have just confirmed the guesses I had.

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