This is one of three OV-10s at FWAM.
The OV-10A is a twin-turboprop short takeoff and landing aircraft conceived by the U.S. Marine Corps and developed under a U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps tri-service program for a Light Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (LARA). The North American Rockwell aircraft first flew on July 16, 1965. The first production OV-10A was ordered in 1966, and its initial flight took place in August 1967.
The Bronco’s US military missions included observation, forward air control, helicopter escort, armed reconnaissance, gunfire spotting, utility and limited ground attack. The USAF acquired the Bronco primarily as a forward air control (FAC) aircraft. Adding to its versatility is a rear fuselage compartment with a capacity of 3,200 pounds of cargo or five combat-equipped troops or two litter patients and a medical attendant.
Another unique unit operating OV-10s was the US Navy’s Light Attack Squadron FOUR, VAL-4, “Black Ponies.” The unit was unusual in that it was ground-based. They provided fixed-wing close air support for River Patrol Boats in the Mekong Delta area of Vietnam.
On July 6, 1968, the Marines first OV-10s arrived at Marble Mountain, Vietnam, and flew its first mission that day. The first Air Force OV-10s also arrived shortly thereafter. The nearly 300 aircraft were all produced at Air Force Plant Number 85 at Port Columbus Airport in Ohio. The last one was built in 1976.
The Air Force retired their last OV-10 in 1991, but the Marines continued to operate theirs until July 1994. Foreign governments and other US Government agencies – Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire (CDF) – continued to operate OV-10s.
Manufacturer: North American Aviation
Engines: Two Garrett-AiResearch T76 turboprops of 715 shaft horsepower each
Max. Speed: 281 mph
Cruising Speed: 223 mphRange1,240 miles
Service Ceiling: 26,000 feet
Wingspan: 40 feetLength41 feet, 7 inches
Height: 15 feet, 1 inches
Weight: 14,444 pounds maximum
Armament: Four M-60C 7.62mm machine guns in fuselage, plus 3,600 pounds of external stores. Rack mounted armament in the Vietnam War was usually seven-shot 2.75-inch rocket pods with white phosphorus marker rounds or high-explosive rockets, or 5-inch four-shot Zuni rocket pods. Bombs, air-delivered seismic sensors (ADSIDS), Mk-6 battlefield illumination flares, and other stores were carried as well.
68-03825 This Rockwell OV-10A, Air Force serial number 68-03825, c/n 321-15, was delivered to the USAF and served with 23rd TASS (Tactical Air Support Squadron) during the Vietnam War. It served later throughout West Germany with the 704th TASS and South Korea with the 19th TASS. Following military service, it flew with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as N646 and the California Department of Forestry (CDF) to direct firefighting missions. The aircraft arrived at VMAP from California in January of 2006. Locally: The Broncos introduced laser guidance for bombing after development by Raytheon in Fort Worth. Also, the only OV-10 recipient of the Medal of Honor was posthumously awarded to North Texas native USAF Capt. Steve Bennett while flying the Bronco in South East Asia (SEA).
38-03825 (265A151) Crated for shipment to Vietnam 5/69. 23rd TASS, 1973. Photo from Crash Helm, 1973.
Note gap from 74-78. 601st TCW, Sembach AB, Germany, 10/78?? – 8/84; Note another gap from 84 -87; 19th TASS Osan, Korea 87-89.
The third gap from 89 – 91. Transferred to BLM, Boise, ID 12/5/1991 with TTAF 10073.6 hours. Slide from Terry Love. Stripped, etched, alodined and painted in BLM scheme 5/11/92. BLM N646, City of Fairbanks. Operated from Fairbanks, AK 5/14/92 – 9/3/97. Final BLM flight 10/1/97. Was located at Boise, ID (9/98).
Transferred to CDF and flown to CDF, Mather base 2/19/99 as spare (CDF inventory 5/12/99). Not flown at CDF. TTAF 11164.7 hours. GSA transfer to OBA April 2005. Currently at OBA Fort Worth 11/20/05.