North American OV-10 Bronco

1965

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North American OV-10 Bronco

A US Marine Corps requirement of the early 1960s for a Light Armed Reconnaissance Airplane (LARA) was met by the North American NA-300 design submission, and a contract for seven YOV-10A prototypes was placed in 1964, the first of them flying on 16 July 1965. With a slender two-seat fuselage nacelle mounting a high-set monoplane wing, the aircraft had twin tailbooms extending aft from the nacelles of the two turboprop engines, each with a fin and rudder, and interconnected by a tailplane/elevator assembly; the main units of the tricycle landing gear retracted into the engine nacelles. Six of the prototypes were powered by 447kW Garrett T76-G-6/8 engines, but had one Pratt & Whitney YT74-CP-8/10 turboprops for comparative evaluation. The OV-10A Bronco production version had a 3.05m increase in wing span and more powerful T76-G-10/12 engines, the first flown on 6 August 1967, and 114 were built for the US Marine Corps. These were followed by 157 similar OV-10As for the US Air Force, these entering operational service in Vietnam in 1968. Under the US 'Pave Nail' programme, 15 were provided with special equipment for the location and illumination of targets by night. Other versions have included six OV-10B aircraft supplied to Germany as target tugs, followed by 18 turbojet-boosted OV-10B(Z) aircraft for the same role. Versions similar to the OV-10A have been supplied to Indonesia (16), Thailand (40) and Venezuela (16), under the respective designations OV-10F, OV-10C and OV-10E, and six US OV-10As have been transferred to the Royal Moroccan air force. Two OV-10As were modified under a US Navy contract of 1970 to YOV-10D NOGS (Night Observation/Gunship System) aircraft to provide the US Marines with advanced night operational capability. Since evaluation of these aircraft, 17 US Marine Corps OV-10As have been converted to OV-10D NOS (Night Observation Surveillance) configuration, now equipped with FLIR (forward-looking infra-red) and a laser target illuminator.

North American OV-10 Bronco

Specification 
 MODELOV-10D
 CREW2
 ENGINE2 x Garrett T76-G-420/421 turbo-prop, 776kW
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight6552 kg14445 lb
  Empty weight3127 kg6894 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan12.19 m40 ft 0 in
  Length13.41 m44 ft 0 in
  Height4.62 m15 ft 2 in
  Wing area27.03 m2290.95 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
  Ceiling9145 m30000 ft
  Range w/max payload740 km460 miles
 ARMAMENT2000kg of weapons

North American OV-10 Bronco

Comments1-20 21-40
The name was lost due to an error, sorry, 02.04.2020 12:46

Re the beloved OV-10 Jeff Meadowvale in very wrong. The RAAF has never
operated the Bronco. A pity! During Viet 36 of us from the RAAF
fighter world flew as FACs with the USAF, 20 of whom did all or part
of their tour aboard that ace sportscar, the OV-10. I was one of them,
serving with the 504th TASS. Currently the Australian War Memorial in
Canberra is getting close to completing the restoration for static
display Bronco 639. It will be the only aircraft in the Memorial's
collection in USAF markings. We're proud of that! Ken Issue28 /Rash38

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Stan Kapp, 11.07.2016 02:21

Summer 2015 Two OV10G+ returned to service with USMC in Iraq. There flew 134 sorties during a 82 day deployment.
Resounding Success !

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dale carraher, e-mail, 24.01.2016 16:39

A interesting technical maintenance disaster destroyed an OV-10 on the Sembach flightline late 75 early 76. A fuel relay required R&R. Lets R&R the Age power recepticle at the same. Because the schematic depicted the wiring from the same side of aircraft, when power was applied at 100% vs 25% at a time, the Bronco caught fire and melted to the ground. Access to relay and recept was only accessible while in the cargo bay thus the pigtail recep wires were crossed...boom. Lesson: recep wire schematic was from a view outside of the aircraft R /H side. I believe a TCTO was issued. I was the electrician, the Crew chief powered up out of sequence on ops check. If proper sequence had been followed only event would have been a popped breaker on the main bus bar in the cockpit..... with no damage to our baby. I will never forget that day...Does anyone remember the tail number.

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Gene Hilsheimer, e-mail, 08.04.2015 18:29

I was a young enlisted ABCCC aircrew member (Intel) out of Udorn where I was able to visit other units for "orientation" flights. NKP was my primary port of call where I snagged multiple A-1E, Candlestick C-123 and the occasional OV-10 missions. I remember my first Bronco flight when the pilot made our first 90 degree snap turn after takeoff... and how quickly I learned to deal with my stomach in my throat. I thank my lucky stare for the opportunity for my OV-10 combat missions... some of which I was allowed actual stick time. It was a hoot!!!

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John Wilson van Etten III, e-mail, 08.03.2015 04:23

John Van Etten Nail32 1971-1972
I flew 198 combat missions in the OV-10 PCS out of NKP. I was one of the on scene commanders of the Bat21 rescue. My roommate was Dave Breskman Nail 31 and I worked his SAR when he went down. I was selected to fly the Combat Evaluation of the Pave Nail laser system.

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John Ballard, e-mail, 27.01.2015 22:41

I have been involved with the OV-10 "Bronco" since Oct. 1968 as military instructor (NAMTRADET-1040), technician in Marine Squadrons (HML, & VMO-2, VMO-6, H&MS-36 Flight Section), N.American Tech Rep., OV-10 Consultant (CDF, ATF, Dept. of State) and try to still provide assistance to current users as needed. I have served in aviation maintenance, instruction, manufacturing and test evaluation since 1955 on props, jets, helicopters and it is my opinion that the OV-10 Bronco has given the "biggest bang for the buck" of any aircraft that I have served with. It's versatility and effectiveness has been limited only by the power of it's engines and the imagination of it's users. Always the orphans of the services, the aircraft and the hard working pilots and maintenance men accomplished wonders on a shoe string. There are close knit units, but ALL men from the different services who served "Bronco" over the years are a truly tight group and proud of it.

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LTC Greg Shelby (Nail 225), e-mail, 27.01.2015 05:07

I was fortunate to fly in the OV-10 from 1971-1972 as a Weapons System Operator and put many "spots" down for LGBs. Stationed at NKP, the 23rd TASS, I am proud of the accomplishments of my comrades-in-arms during my tenure. I can proudly say that I was part of a unique squadron with a unique mission. Only 15 were modified with the Pave spot, 13 were operational at the time I joined the unit (I believe), and we lost one while I was there. I'm also proud to say that I was part of an 8-ship formation during a typhoon-evac from Da Nang and have pics to prove it!

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Don, 27.11.2014 19:06

I am interviewing people still in and around Columbus regarding the OV10 and YAT-28. My father worked at the CMH NAA plant at the time and simply want to create a nice piece of history. These interviews will be on or off camera per the persons preference. Please reply here if interested and if everyone can see there is a good bit of people I will repost an email to set up times etc.

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Robert H Niles, e-mail, 24.11.2014 22:04

I was in the first classes trained in the OV-10 and was in Viet Nam in 1969 with the 19th TASS assigned to 1 ACD and later assigned the 549 Training Squadron. I flew over 450 missions while in Viet Nam.

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Frank Baque, e-mail, 27.08.2014 20:22

I was a Nail FAC and flew the OV-10 out of Nakom Phanom, Thailand (NKP), in 1970 and '71.

The aircraft was just exceptional for our mission and was a joy to fly. We had some absolutely fantastic pilots and ground crews. I will always remember those times and people.

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Scott Main, e-mail, 13.03.2014 18:26

I worked on OV-10s at Sembach Air Base, West Germany from 1982-1984. I spent my years in the Phase Dock hanger doing the Phase Inspections. As the years have passed I have come to look fondly upon the time I spent there. Although I never got to fly in an Air Force aircraft, there certainly wasn't one inch of an OV-10 in which I didn't have my hands. Unfortunately, I have no photos of that time, and my only pictures are stored in my memory.

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Frank Kelley, e-mail, 09.02.2014 06:21

I flew Air Force OV-10's out of Danang AB as a "Covey" FAC over the Ho Chi Mhin trail. I absolutely LOVED the airplane and enjoyed every minute of my 1,000 hours!!

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Larry Lindsey, e-mail, 22.09.2013 15:54

I was part of the support crew when combat evaluations were conducted out of Binh Thuy. Anybody else from the crew out there? Would sure like to here from you. This was certainly an awesome aircraft.

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Craig Roberts, e-mail, 29.07.2013 19:58

I first saw an OV-10 on a fire in central California when CDF (CalFire) started using them. Years later I got some stick time in one and was impressed with it's straight forward honest flying. Told my son "if you said you got to drive a Ferrari I would still say I got to fly an OV-10"! Even got to land it!

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Bart Osborne, e-mail, 05.07.2013 03:39

I worked on the YOV-10 from concept proposal through rough terrain testing of the prototype - stress analysis of the landing gear, engine mounts, and cowling for the prototype a /c. I then left NAA Columbus for Lockheed California in Burbank CA.

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John Joss, e-mail, 14.01.2013 20:23

Spending time with the Marines at MCAS Yuma, I had the opportunity to spend time in the FAC OV-10 both day and night. Delightful, responsive a /c. Amusing to 'back out' of the flight line with reverse thrust selected.
I don't particulaly recommend night FAC work, especially when a lost USMC attack bird far from the right place at the right altitude comes over so close that you can feel its passage (we were orbiting directly over the target and deploying flares). My instructor pilot, Lt USMC, said over the ICS, just after that happened: "My mom told me I shouldn't do s**t like this." Right on.

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Bob Valdez, e-mail, 25.06.2012 12:48

I was a member on VAL-4. A plank owner, I was the second inlisted man in the squadron. It was a great airplane and we had a great group of officers and enlisted men. I was a AO-2 and a weapons team leader. VAL-4 has a active website (black pony.com.

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Larry Sibley, e-mail, 12.03.2012 19:43

i also worked @ the columbus plant in 1963 to 1965 my dept was non-destructive testing (x-ray) main job was the xb-70 inspecting the stainless steel oven braised honeycomb panels prior to shipment to edwards in cal for final assy. we did do a lot of jobs for the bronco and yat-28 (exerimental version of the t28 trainer (never made it to production). had a lot of fun finding all the airframe cracks the crazy test pilots introduced to the ov wringing it out in the hocking hills of southern ohio lol.

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Garry Joseph Keiffer, e-mail, 06.10.2011 06:33

I WAS A FIREFIGHTER FOR NAA AND STOOD BYE ON DROP TESTS ON THE FIRST TWO OV-10A'S IN COLUMBUS OH.

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DAVE BELLOWS, e-mail, 17.09.2011 16:39

I WAS A CREW CHIEF FOR OV-10S IN 1969-70.I HAVE MANY HOURS BACKSEAT TIME IN THIS AIRCRAFT.THIS WAS TRULY A SPECTACULAR AIRCRAFT AND CONTRIBUTED TO THE SURVIVAL OF MANY GROUND TROOPS IN VIETNAM.

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1-20 21-40

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