Transcription

The OV-10 BroncoDesigned forCounterinsurgencyand the Vietnam WarThe OV-10 Bronco Association2015 Copyright OV-10 Bronco Association. All rights reserved.

Table of ContentsINTRODUCTION . 41. THE CONCEPT . 52. THE DESIGN COMPETITION . 73. YOV-10A PROTOTYPE . 93.1 THE MOCKUP. 93.2 YOV-10A FLIGHT TEST . 104. THE OV-10A BRONCO . 135. FIELDING THE OV-10 IN VIETNAM . 195.1 MARINE CORPS SERVICE . 195.2 AIR FORCE SERVICE . 305.3 NAVY SERVICE . 356. OV-10 CHANGES DURING 1968-1975 . 406.1 ARMAMENT . 406.2 PAVE NAIL . 426.3 NIGHT OBSERVATION GUNSHIP SYSTEM (NOGS) . 457. CONCLUSIONS. 487.1 THE OV-10 IN THE VIETNAM WAR . 487.2 THE OV-10 POST-VIETNAM . 487.3 IN SUMMARY . 50APPENDIX A: OV-10 AIR CREW LOSSES, 1968-1975 . A1APPENDIX B: CONTRIBUTORS .B1APPENDIX C: ABBREVIATIONS, ACRONYMS, AND TERMS . C1APPENDIX D: BIBLIOGRAPHY. D1APPENDIX E: VIETNAM ERA OV-10 PATCHES & EMBLEMS. E1-1-

Table of FiguresFIGURE 1: L2VMA Specification, Beckett and Rice, 1960 . 5FIGURE 2: L2VMA Proposed Ordnance, Beckett and Rice, 1960 . 6FIGURE 3: AW&ST Cover, OV-10 Mockup . 9FIGURE 4: OV-10 Mockup Restored, 2001 . 9FIGURE 5: Initial YOV-10A Configuration . 10FIGURE 6: YOV-10A Aircraft #1 . 11FIGURE 7: YOV-10 Aircraft #4, All That Remains . 12FIGURE 8: OV-10A Bronco Revealed . 13FIGURE 9: OV-10A Flight Controls . 14FIGURE 10: OV-10A Cockpit Arrangement. 15FIGURE 11: Initial OV-10A Armament. 16FIGURE 12: OV-10A Basic Dimensions . 17FIGURE 13: OV-10A Being Waved Aboard . 18FIGURE 14: Marine Corps OV-10 Training Mission . 19FIGURE 15: Marine Corps OV-10 in Vietnam with CBU-55s. 22FIGURE 16: ADSIDs Loaded For OV-10 Delivery. 23FIGURE 17: OV-10 Back Seat View Forward . 24FIGURE 18: Marine Corps OV-10 in Vietnam. Note the Crew Visibility and Vulnerability. . 25FIGURE 19: Marine Corps OV-10 in Vietnam 1969 . 26FIGURE 20: VMO-2 OV-10A DaNang 1970 . 27FIGURE 21: SEA OV-10 Squadron Locations. 29FIGURE 22: Air Force OV-10A . 30FIGURE 23: VAL-4 OV-10s Loaded With Zunis, Mk4 Gun Pod, and M60s. 36-2-

Table of Figures, ContinuedFIGURE 24: VAL-4 Fire Team section Over Rat Sung/Long Tau Shipping Channel to Saigon . 37FIGURE 25: VAL-4 Pilots’ Favorite Ordnance Load; Twenty Zunis . 38FIGURE 26: 20mm Gun Pod and ADSIDs. 40FIGURE 27: CBU-55 Fuel Air Explosive . 41FIGURE 28: Proposed Recoilless Rifle Installation and Static Test Rig . 41FIGURE 29: PAVE NAIL Equipped OV-10A. 42FIGURE 30: Bridge In Daylight and At Night With PAVE NAIL Scope . 43FIGURE 31: YOV-10D System Diagram . 45FIGURE 32: YOV-10D NOGS . 47FIGURE 33: VMO-1 OV-10D at Camp Pendleton, 1993 . 48FIGURE 34: OV-10 Mosquito Sprayer . 49FIGURE 35: CalFire OV-10A . 50FIGURE 36: OBA OV-10s On Display . 50-3-

IntroductionIt was a tale like many others from the VietnamWar. A Marine Corps reconnaissance teamfound itself in contact with an overwhelmingenemy force soon after being inserted byhelicopter. There was nothing for them to do butmaneuver to a clearing large enough to use as ahelicopter landing zone and resist the enemyforce while waiting for the arrival of a helicopterfor extraction. The situation was desperate andwould have been fatal for the entire team had itnot been for a Marine Corps OV-10A Broncooverhead. The reconnaissance unit was inconstant radio contact with the Bronco crewwho were aware of the recon team’s locationand the location of the opposing enemy force.The recon team could hear the enemy as theyapproached through the brush and the onlything that kept the enemy from overrunningthem was the employment of M60 machine gunsinstalled on the OV-10. Each time the Marineson the ground heard the enemy approach, theOV-10 would make a firing pass between therecon team and the attacking enemy force.Using two guns at a time to conserveammunition, the Bronco crew made multiplestrafing passes until the extraction helicopterand supporting armed helicopters arrived.1This was the way the Marine Corps used its OV10s. The Air Force, with a different missionfocus, used them primarily in a forward aircontrol or FAC role across Southeast Asia. Theyalso used the OV-10 in support of search andrescue or SAR missions to recover downedaircrews. The Navy found a different way to usethe Bronco and had established an OV-10squadron of its own in the Mekong Delta tosupport riverine operations using the Bronco asa light attack aircraft.The OV-10 was a product of and for the VietnamWar. Of the 271 OV-10As delivered to theUnited States military, all were delivered before1970, five years before the war ended. Theconcept for the airplane began in the minds oftwo Marine Corps officers before the war inVietnam began but they had counterinsurgencyin Indochina as one of the potential conflictsidentified where the airplane would be of value.After initial employment in Southeast Asia, theBroncounderwentmodificationsandenhancements that were a response toparticular needs defined by wartime experience.This paper, prepared for and presented at the2015 Violent Skies Symposium, will address thedevelopment of the OV-10A Bronco and itsparticular association with the prosecution ofthe Vietnam War.At this point the OV-10 crew, pilot and aerialobserver, could direct armed helicopter runswith guns and rockets on the enemy whilecoordinating other assets. If the situationrequired, artillery, naval gunfire, and supportfrom jet aircraft would be directed as well ascoordinating medivac helicopter operations.11/Lt Zachery T. Johnson, USMC, addressing 3rd Platoon, CCompany, 72d OCC, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA,1971 per Ashby Shoop 2015-4-

1. The Concept6) Capable of performing armedreconnaissance.7) Capable of burning any type of fuel,especially that available in a ground unit.8) Capable of utilizing ground unit ordnanceincluding .30 machine guns and a 106mmrecoilless rifle.9) Capable of reconfiguration, from attack tocargo.10) Capable of accommodating an observer.11) Capable of water based operation withfloats.The idea behind what was to become the NorthAmerican Aviation Model 300, the OV-10Bronco, had its origin as a series of conversationsbetween two Marine Corps pilots who wereKorean War veterans; Majors W.H. Beckett andK.P. Rice. This sort of conversation inevitablybegan, “What the Marine Corps really needs ”as have many conversations among Marinessince 1775. What was different about theseconversations is that they resulted in the Majorsdrafting a paper entitled, Light, Light SupportAircraft, or L2VMA, VMA being the designationfor a Marine attack squadron. The paper wassubtitled, “The Need, Concept of Operation andGeneral Specifications for a Very Light S.T.O.L.Support Aircraft”.2 STOL or short takeoff andlanding is generally defined as a takeoff clearinga barrier 50 feet high with it requiring no morethan 500 feet takeoff roll. Their airplane wasdesigned around an emerging need for airsupport in a limited war situation. A specificationdiagram is included here, in Figure 1. Someimportant characteristics include:1) Capable of operating with troops off ofunimproved fields or roads lined with treesrequiring a trailing arm type of landinggear.2) Capable of STOL operation.3) Shoulder mounted wing with the crew areaunobstructed in a forward location.4) Capable of supporting helicopter orarmored operations.5) Capable of supporting anti-helicopter andanti-armor operations.Figure 1: L2VMA Specification, Beckett and Rice,1960Their paper emphasized that although the focusof the development of military aircraft at thattime (1960) had been on the high end withsupersonic and nuclear capability, in a limitedwar situation, “ back in the foxholes of Korea,the jungles of Indochina, and the sands of Israel2Maj W.E. Beckett USMC, Maj K.P. Rice USMC. LightLight Support Aircraft (L2VMA), The Need, Concept ofOperation and General Specification For A Very LightS.T.O.L. Support Aircraft, Unpublished, OBA Version(Annotated by K.P. Rice) 1960-5-

and Jordon, war proceeds pretty much as usual.”They looked at likely operating scenarios for aL2VMA airplane and included what would now becalled low observability through the use of nonradar reflecting fiber glass