North American Bronco
The OV-10 Bronco, a rugged,
twin-turboprop, multimission aircraft, served with the U.S. Air Force and
Marine Corps (OV-10A). The US Navy also used the OV-10. The Navy squadron
VAL-4 "Black Ponies" flew them with much success in Vietnam.
Internationally the OV-10 served with the military services of West
Germany (OV-10B), Thailand (OV-10C), Venezuela (OV-10E), and Indonesia
(OV-10F). Designed and built by North American at Columbus, Ohio, the
Bronco complemented the performance requirements between jets and
helicopters. Faster and more tactically versatile than helicopters, yet
slower and more manoeuvrable than jets, the Bronco utilized tactics not
possible with either.
The OV-10D night observation system (NOS) featured a unique night
observation and target marking system that included forward-looking
infrared (FLIR) and laser designator/ranger. With uprated 1040 SHP
turboprop engines and fibreglass propellers, NOS provides greater range,
improved performance and greater survivability.
In military operations, the Bronco's outstanding capability to find and
hit battlefield targets close to friendly troops made this an aircraft
effective against conventional and guerrilla forces. The effective
application of the Bronco's versatility did not end with purely military
functions, however. Civil action applications added significantly to the
cost-effectiveness of this economical aircraft.
Military applications for which the Bronco was particularly suited include
anti-guerrilla operations, helicopter escort, close air support, armed
reconnaissance, and forward air control. In addition, it could be used for
utility missions such as cargo paradrop, delivery of up to six paratroops,
medical evacuation, smoke screening, and psychological warfare with
leaflets and loudspeakers.
For peacetime operations, the guns, bomb racks, and armour could be removed
quickly, and the aircraft became a high-performance STOL utility vehicle.
Potential applications included aerial mapping, geological survey,
spraying, disaster relief, and patrol work.
Ruggedness and simplicity of operation were emphasized in the design of
the Bronco. The fuselage was mounted under the wing and provides tandem
seating for pilot and observer. The canopy design afforded better
visibility than that of most helicopters. Each crewman was equipped with
an LW-3B ejection seat system, also designed and built at Columbus, which
was capable of zero-speed, zero-altitude ejections.
Armor protection, a bullet-resistant windshield, and self-sealing fuel
cells were provided for operations in a hostile environment. Twin engines,
dual manual flight controls, and rugged and simple construction also
contributed to survivability and safety.
The OV-10 was equipped with seven external store stations and four 7.62 mm
guns installed in the sponsons. A variety of conventional ordnance could
be delivered in addition to 2,000 rounds of ammunition. The seven external
store stations consist of four sponson store stations, one centreline
station, and two external wing stations. Sponson accessibility provided
rapid loading of stores and ammunition. The wing stations could carry the
LAU-7/A launcher for mounting either rocket packages or missiles. The
centreline store station also had the capability of carrying either a 20
mm gun pod or a 150-, 230-, or 300-gallon (568-, 871-, or 1136-liter)
external fuel tank.
Removal of the armament sponsons and the back seat with its associated
armor enabled a quick and simple conversion to a civil action
configuration, which permitted the carrying of 3,200 pounds (1,452
kilograms) of cargo in the aft fuselage.
For operation in remote areas, the Bronco had a specially designed rough
field landing gear, required no ground equipment for starting, and could
be maintained with simple handtools. In the event of an emergency, the
Bronco could use high-octane or automotive fuel in place of jet fuel with
only a slight degradation of power.
Span: 40 ft.
Length: 41 ft. 7 in.
Height: 15 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 14,444 lbs. max.
Armament: Four M60C 7.62mm machine guns in fuselage sponsons, plus
3,600 lbs. of mixed ordnance or gun pods carried externally.
Engines: Two Garrett-AiResearch T76s (-G-10, left; -G-12 right) of
715 shaft hp. each
Maximum speed: 281 mph.
Cruising speed: 223 mph.
Range: 1,240 miles
Service Ceiling: 26,000 ft.