#AUSA2010: OV-1D Mohawk revived as modern gunship

A host of aircraft have been pitched for counter-insurgency. Revive the OV-10? Check. Convert the AirTractor cropduster into the AT-802U? Yep. Remake the T-6A into the AT-6? That too. Here’s a new one:

ATK has teamed up with Mohawk Technologies and Broadbay to revive the OV-1D Mohawk for the counter-insurgency market.

The new version adds the ATK 30mm chain gun from the Boeing AH-64 Apache, plus a glass cockpit and integrated targeting system with electro-optical/infrared sensor turret.

Mohawk owns six decommissioned OV-1Ds that are available for conversion, with dozens more of the aircraft available on the used market, says JT Young, of Broadbay, which supplies the crews to operate the OV-1Ds.

The second-generation OV-1D is being pitched as a live-fire training aid for the US military’s schools for joint terminal attack controllers, says ATK’s Clay Bringhurst. The schools could operate the OV-1Ds on a fee-for-service basis, or buy the aircraft outright. If someone decides to push the armed reconnaissance trainers into a combat zone, so much the better. “Why not?” says Bringhurst.


But the ultimate goal is to sell the aircraft on the foreign market. The US State Department last week approved ATK’s license application to market the aircraft to approved foreign customers. The OV-1D team is targeting potential military and government buyers in the Middle East and South America.


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4 Responses to #AUSA2010: OV-1D Mohawk revived as modern gunship

  1. Jersey Dave 30 October, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    Hell yeah, they could use something like that! The idea of turboprop counterinsurgency aircraft has been bandied about since the US went into Afghanistan in 2001, frankly I am amazed the folks at the top have taken so long to do it. The cost is so low and the capability is so high! In WW2 they had the Mustang flying in under a year, it takes them a decade now to get a simple turboprop COIN plane. Red tape, stupid!

  2. Bob Heckendorn 2 November, 2010 at 12:47 am #

    I flew something like 200 combat minssions in the Mohawk in VN. I then put in 30 plus years of flying many other types of aircraft. As to this proposed use of the Mohawk as a gun platform, I guess power to weight isn’t a criteria? Because I would not say the Mohawk is a powerful airplane at all. I would think a desirable airframe would have to have something like 150 to 200% more power.

  3. Hawk43 2 November, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    They would have to get rid of the dismal engines on the OV-1D. I flew the Mohawk for 25 years and had four engine failures. Any increase in shaft horsepower will require some sort of rudder boost system since the rudders are already to small to handle the aircraft with a critical engine cut on a cool day with full power. That’s more of a training issue. The P-51 would roll you over on takeoff if you applied full power.

    The Grumman fuselage and wings of the OV-1D are beyond strong, but the engines and props will always be the Mohawk’s short coming. Put a couple of PT6-68 engines and props on the aircraft and it may be a threat.

  4. Keith Runawaychair Towler 26 March, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Having grown up with the OV-1(A, B, C, D & E), I feel sure that it has established itself as a worthy warbird. The wind-drag and the extra weight of a belly chain gun will require a considerable upgrade in shaft horsepower. The extra torque of the upgrade may prove unmanageable without power assisted rudder pedals and increased rudder surface, adding yet more weight. Also, the vibration from a chain gun, well, it’s described as sight-blurring exhilaration. I’d rather risk this type of ground support to unmanned aircraft and save a few pilots from an untimely departure because of a way over-extended airframe. Then again, to a company engaged in military capitalism targeting unwary foreign cowboys, I wish them good luck.

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