Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bring Back the Bronco

Posted by Chris at 1/24/2009 12:26 PM

David Axe at War is Boring (formerly of Wired's Danger Room) reports that Boeing wants to bring back the venerable OV-10, which is still in service in other nations (and were based at Wheeler AFB when I lived in Hawaii), for COIN work.  Boeing wants to enhance the old birds with modern sensors and self-defense systems.  The Broncos have a definite cool factor that some newer aircraft proposed for the COIN mission lack - a Texan II or a Brasilia won't be landing on the deck of the same carriers a Harrier can operate from.

If you can do this inexpensively and quickly, it's an option we should pursue.  It makes more sense than re-purposing training aircraft, and I'm not a fan of drones for anything other than recon missions (something armed and hackable, yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense).  I'm wondering, though, if we sold off all the old OV-10s in the inventory, or if we could retrieve some out of the boneyard for use (satellite photos of the boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB show a few of them).  Could you reasonably add more modern avionics to the old airframes on the cheap?

USMC OV-10D aircraft in the boneyard.  Image courtesy of the OV-10 Bronco Association.

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