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Rockwell OV-10 Bronco


To meet a US Navy requirement for a light armed recon-naissance aircraft, North American Rockwell produced their NA-300 design submission for the OV-10A Bronco. A contract for seven YOV-10A prototypes was placed in 1964, the first of them flying on 16 July 1965.

With a 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.


In October 1976 the OV-10D Night Observation Surveillance (NOS) variant of the OV-10A made its first flight, re-engined with the 1,040 s.h.p. T76-G-420 and -421. A further 32 OV-10E and-10F Broncos were also ordered.

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 a FLIR (forward-looking infra-red) turret in the nose linked to an underfuselage 20mm cannon turret, and a laser target illuminator.

Production of the Bronco for the USMC, USAF, and four export customers was completed in 1980.

Able to carry a maximum weapon load of 3,600 lb (1,633 kg), the Bronco has proved valuable for Forward Air Control (FAC) operations in South-East Asia.




Of the seven prototype North American Rockwell OV-10 Broncos built, No.3 on the line was heavily modified and was the only short-wing example of the aircraft ever built. YOV-10A 152881 (N718NA) has a wingspan of only 32ft (9.75m), whereas standard production air-craft had 40ft (12m) of wing. From 1966 to 1972 the aircraft was used as a demonstration airframe and was used to take Admirals, Generals and Con-gressmen for flights to extol the virtues of the twin-engined obser-vation and forward air controller design. The Bronco was also assigned to train new pilots on the gunnery ranges, using its machine-guns and rock-ets. During the spring of 1972 it was assigned to NASA under the Department of the Army, for STOL flight testing. This was carried out at the Ames Flight Test Center in California, with the aircraft being allocated a civilian registration.

During its time at Ames, the Bronco was heavily modified, the aircraft's Garrett T-76 turboprops were removed and replaced by Lycoming T-54s. Three blade 7ft (2.1m) Hamilton Standard pro-pellers were replaced with 10ft (3m) four-bladed Curtiss Electric composite propellers, and the engines were interconnected by a single solid shaft in the leading edge of the wing. With this system in operation, the aircraft flew at 47 knots and NASA was working toward getting the minimum speed down to 30 knots. The Bronco became unstable, and the programme was stopped. The air-craft was with NASA until it was sold to the Detroit Institute of Aeronautics in 1979.


Engines: 2 x Garrett AiResearch T76-G-416/417, 715 shp
Wing span: 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m)
Wing area: 290.951 sqft / 27.03 sq.m
Length: 41 ft 7 in (12.67 m)
Height: 15 ft 2 in (4.62 m)
Max TO wt: 14,446 lb (6563 kg)
Weight empty: 6892.8 lb / 3126.0 kg
Max level speed: 281 mph (452 kph)
Cruising speed: 168 kts / 312 km/h
Service ceiling : 27001 ft / 8230 m
Maximum range: 1199 nm / 2220 km
Range (max. weight): 410 nm / 760 km
Crew: 2
Armament: 4x MG 7,62mm M60C/500rds., 1633kg ext. 5pts.

Engines: 2 x Garrett T76-G-418

Engines: 2 x Garrett T76-G-420/421 turbo-prop, 776kW / 1040 shp
Max take-off weight: 6552 kg / 14445 lb
Empty weight: 3127 kg / 6894 lb
Wingspan: 12.19 m / 39 ft 12 in
Length: 13.41 m / 43 ft 12 in
Height: 4.62 m / 15 ft 2 in
Wing area: 27.03 sq.m / 290.95 sq ft
Ceiling: 9145 m / 30000 ft
Range w/max.payload: 740 km / 460 miles
Bombload: 2000kg
Crew: 2


North American OV-10 Bronco



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