July 16, 1965, the new North American OV-10A lifted off for flight trials. An evaluation panel, including Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine test pilots, was slated to put the Bronco through its paces. Projected missions for the light, multi-purpose, counter-insurgency aircraft included visual and photo reconnaissance, helicopter escort, close air support, liaison duties and transport for personnel and light cargo.
The first production contracts were consummated in October 1966, with deliveries beginning in early 1968. The Air Force procured 152 OV-10As for forward air control and ground support duties. The Marine Corps accepted 96 aircraft, of which 18 were diverted to the Navy, for armed reconnaissance, helicopter escort and forward air control missions. Production for the U.S. armed forces ended in April 1969. However the Thailand Air Force ordered 16 OV-10Cs, followed by a West German order for 18 OV-10Bs for the purpose of target-towing.
Power plant: Two 715 horse power Garrett AiResearch T76-G-10/12 turboprops.
Wing span: 40 feet.
Length: 41 feet, 7 inches.
Weight empty: 6,969 lbs.
Gross weight: 14,466 lbs.
Max speed: 281 mph, sea level.
Combat radius: 228 miles max.
Armament: Four 0.30-inch machine guns; 2,400 lbs of external ordnance.
Sources: Page 30, ARMY AVIATION magazine, August 1965 issue.
Photo: Gordon, Military Aircraft of the World