The first time I saw one overhead I knew instantly what it was. The twin boom, high tail, stubby winged aircraft could only be the OV-10 Bronco, a twin turboprop job that did yeoman's service in Viet Nam.
I wonder what the ISIS boys in Syria must have thought when they first spotted it overhead. My, my, my.
The US military is looking for a new close-support aircraft and decided to dust off a pair of OV-10s for a try out against Islamic State forces. Apparently they did just fine if not really, really well.
The twin-engine Broncos—each flown by a pair of naval aviators—completed 134 sorties, including 120 combat missions, over a span of 82 days beginning in May 2015 or shortly thereafter, according to U.S. Central Command, which oversees America’s wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Central Command would not say exactly where the OV-10s were based or where they attacked, but did specify that the diminutive attack planes with their distinctive twin tail booms flew in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led international campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon has deployed warplanes to Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, among other countries.
The US currently relies on F-15s and F-18s for most of its ground attack missions in the war against ISIS. An F-15 can swallow up $40,000 per hour just for fuel and maintenance costs. The Bronco comes in closer to $1,000.
After Viet Nam, the USAF and USN Broncos were snapped up by foreign air forces and civilian buyers. The Marines got rid of their last OV-10s in 1999. In other words, the military doesn't have hundreds of them sitting out at the warplane graveyard at Davis Monthan AFB. Boeing has a proposal to build a new, massively updated OV-10, if...