Editor’s Note: It will be curious to see what happens with the Bronco. The aircraft flew 134 sorties–120 of them in combat, and amassed 477.3 flying hours, and achieved a 99% mission-capable rate. No matter how you look at it, that’s a very strong outing for 82 days worth of work. But what does it all mean? Are we looking at the viability of the Bronco itself? Or is this merely a look ahead for something like the A-29 or AT-6 to bridge a capability gap created by the absence of another platform?
The U.S. military is considering whether a Vietnam-era propeller-driven airplane could be useful in the fight against the Islamic State, after what appeared to be a successful trial run last year.
Two OV-10 Broncos were deployed for barely three months last summer and fall as part of the international coalition battling Islamic State militants in the region, according to the U.S. Central Command.
Capt. Bryant Davis, a CENTCOM spokesman, said the planes had been deployed “to a location in Southwest Asia” as part of an evaluation to determine whether they “increased effectiveness of airpower in a counterinsurgency … while reducing cost and preserving high-end special aviation resources, such as the F-15E, B-1B and F/A-18, which are currently performing similar missions.”
The aircraft flew 134 sorties, including 120 combat missions, Davis said. “They accumulated 477.3 total hours during the 82-day deployment and achieved a 99 percent sortie completion rate.”
The slow, twin-boom, twin turbo-prop planes originally built by North American Rockwell — now part of Boeing — first entered service with the U.S. Marines in 1968 in Vietnam, and soon thereafter with the Air Force and Navy.
The little two-seater rapidly established a reputation for dependability, versatility and ease of maintenance. But the data from the experiment is reportedly still being analyzed, military officials said.
“Information in the report will help DOD decision makers determine if this is a valid concept that would be effective in the current battle space,” Davis said, adding that because the report was still a draft it would be premature to provide further details.
The article in its entirety may be viewed at Stars and Stripes right here.
(Featured photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)