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North American OV-10B
 
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99+33 North American Rockwell OV-10B Bronco c/n 338-18 - German AF - Luftwaffemuseum at Berlin-Gatow in Germany - 7 June 2015 more German Air Force

The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a twin engined turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s by North American Aviation (NAA) through the United States Marine Corps Light Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (LARA) program, to meet the requirement for a dedicated counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft. Convair produced the Convair Model 48 Charger and North American Aviation produced the NA-300 to meet the requirement for the light attack and observation aircraft that could operate from short and rugged runways. In August 1964, the North American Aviation NA-300 was announced as the winner of the LARA competition. In October 1963, a contract for seven YOV-10A prototypes emerged from the development of the NA-300. On 16 July 1965, the first YOV-10A prototype (No. 52879) Bronco flew first. The performance of the YOV-10A resulted in 1966 in a production contract for the OV-10A Bronco. The initial Bronco production model, the twin engined North American Aviation OV-10A Bronco was powered by two 660 hp Garrett Airesearch T76-G-410/412 series turboprops. The pilot and co-pilot sat in tandem in a full-windowed cockpit. The fuselage nacelle featured a cabin area at rear with space for two medical litters and one medical attendant or five combat-ready infantrymen. The OV-10A Bronco proved itself during the Vietnam War, mainly in the FAC (Forward Air Control) and helicopter escort role. The North American Rockwell OV-10B and OV-10B(Z) were both target tugs produced for Germany, the latter fitted with a General Electric J85-GE-4 small single-shaft turbojet engine on the top of the hull. Eighteen aircraft were delivered in the late 60's to the Feral German Air Force. These OV-10B Broncos were equipped with target towing equipment inside the fuselage. A clear dome replaced the rear cargo door and a rear seat was installed in the cargo bay to look backwards out of the dome. Designations for the OV-10C, OV-10E and OV-10F models were all for export to Thailand, Venezuela and Indonesia respectively and all based on the OV-10A production model.  The OV-10M was a modified OV-10A model for the Philippines Air Force. In March 1967, North American Aviation merged with Rockwell-Standard, and the merged company became known as North American Rockwell. In 1973, the company changed its name to Rockwell International and named its aircraft division North American Aircraft Operations.Production of the Bronco ended in April 1976 with 356 OV-10 aircraft built.

To replace the ageing Hawker Sea Fury aircraft in service as target towing aircrafts with the Deutsche Luftfahrt Beratungsdienst (DLB) from Lübeck-Blankensee, the Federal German government decided to ordered six OV-10Bs and twelve OV-10B(Z)s. The OV-10B(Z) carried an additional thrust General Electric J85-GE-4 turbojet, pylon mounted above the centre of the wing. A clear dome replaced the rear cargo door. The rear seat was moved to the cargo bay to look backwards out the dome.....The target towing version for West Germany had no armament with c/n 338-1 / 18 were produced by North American Columbus, Ohio, under BuNo. 158292 / 158309. The aircraft were initially registered with the MBL (Materialprufstelle der Bundeswehr für Luftfahrgerät) registrations D-9545 / D-9562. From 1976, the German Bronco's received the Luftwaffe FDG (Flugziel Darstellungs Gruppe) 99+16 / 99+33 registrations. In active service with the Luftwaffe FDG, OV-10B 99+19; 99+22 and 99+23 were written off. From the1990s, the Bronco was replaced as target tug by the Pilatus PC-9 and all fifteen OV-10B aircraft were retired. Most of them ended their life in various museums or as instructional airframe, however some were kept airworthy and still show their performance during airshows.

On 7 June 2015, the 1971-built North American Rockwell OV-10B Bronco 99+33 was seen at the static of the Luftwaffe Museum at the former RAF Gatow Air Base near Berlin. The North American Rockwell OV-10B Bronco c/n 338-18 was built under USA BuNo.158309 and registered D-9562 in West Germany. In 1976, the aircraft was re-registered as 99+33. In 1990, the 99+33 was withdrawn from service with FDG. In August 1993, the Bronco was preserved in the Luftwaffenmuseum bei Uetersen. In 1995, the collection of the Luftwaffenmuseum was moved from Uetersen to its new location at the former RAF Air Base Gatow near Berlin. From August 1996 to March 1999, the North American Rockwell OV-10B Bronco 99+33 was stored at Gatow. Since December 1999, the 99+33 is preserved at the outdoor exhibition of the new Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr at Berlin-Gatow. In 2011, the museum was renamed in Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr - Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow.

page last updated: 18-06-2015
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands
 

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