|Several foreign countries have acquired OV-10s. All these variants were essentially OV-10As, except for the German OV-10Bs that had more extensive modifications (to the point a pod-mounted auxiliary jet engine was installed!) Click the links for more information about each country’s OV-10s.
- Colombia – OV-10As remain active patrolling against rebel forces.
- Germany – OV-10Bs / OV-10B[Z]s were retired, but at least 3 are now flying with private groups in Belgium and France, including two with the German Wing of the OBA.
- Indonesia – OV-10Fs are still flying, and have been used against rebels in East Timor.
- Morocco – OV-10As are probably now on inactive status, primarily due to lack of funding.
- The Philippines – OV-10As are currently in active combat service. The 16th Attack Squadron comprises the Philippine Wing of the OBA.
- Thailand – OV-10Cs may be headed for retirement in the forseeable future.
- Venezuela – OV-10Es are active in border-patrol duties. The FAV hosted the international OV-10 symposium.
Photos of non-US Broncos that don’t fit into the above pages will be shown on this page.
Colombia has acquired OV-10s from the United States. The U.S. Air Force provided the Colombian Air Force (FAC) with 12 OV-10As in 1991. The U.S. Navy later provided 3 Marine Corps OV-10As. The FAC received permission to cannibalize the three Marine Corps A’s because it was to difficult to support the different configurations. In December 1997, the FAC lost an OV-10A. Their actual fleet as of October 1998 consists of 11 aircraft. (Info courtesy Glenn R. Keller, USAF Colombia Country Director.)
|Indonesia acquired 12 OV-10Fs, essentially refurbished OV-10As. The Indonesian military has used OV-10s for fighting rebels in East Timor, which has occasionally raised protests by human-rights groups who claim that the targets are usually unarmed civilians. (In our experience, the background facts these groups present concerning the OV-10s in connection with this issue are generally wildly inaccurate, however.) Unfortunately, there appears to not be very much accurate information available concerning Indonesia’s OV-10s or the use of them, at least when compared to the information available about most other operators. We do know that they have replaced the standard four 7.62mm M60C’s with four (much more powerful) 12.7mm M2 Browning 50-Caliber machine guns.
Morocco acquired six ex-USMC A-model airframes that were delivered in 1981 after being refurbished by Rockwell in Columbus. It was originally intended that Morocco would get 24 aircraft but political problems lead to the delivery of only 6. It appears that these airplanes never saw a great amount of service and there has been some speculation in recent years of these airplanes ending up elsewhere.
OBA member T.C. Antonsen provided this information in June 2001 (T.C. was part of the original Marine detachment that trained Morocco to use and fly their OV-10s):
The 6 OV-10A were given to the Moroccan Air Force in 1981. In January 1981 fifteen Marines made up of personnel from VMO-1 and VMO-2 formed a mobile training team called MTT-1-81 to train the Moroccan Air Force how to maintain and fly the OV-10 aircraft. This was the first time Marines had ever been used for this purpose. They spent six month in Morocco at the Kenitra Air Base providing training.
The first two aircraft flew over in February of 1981. Their route took them from Columbus, Ohio up the east coast of the U.S. and Canada over to Greenland, Iceland and then down the west coast of Europe and into Morocco. Two more followed in March and April.
The aircraft were to be used in the civil war being waged in the south by the Polisariso insurgents. During the operation of the aircraft one crashed and was destroyed, and another made a wheels up landing but was scrapped as repair was not within their capability. With the end of the war the aircraft were used for border and coast patrol, flying out of the Kenitra Air Base. In June of 1991 the OV-10A made their last flight to Meknes air base where they were put into storage.
The aircraft were last seen in April 2001. They were considered to be in very good shape, although there were minor things needing repair (stemming from the fact that they had been sitting for an extended period of time.)
Possibly the most famous role of Morocco’s OV-10s was a very brief shot of one of them in the James Bond movie The Living Daylights, in the scene where they escape from the Soviet camp (in the movie it was supposed to be in Afghanistan) with the help of the Mujahadeen. In reality of course the scene was filmed on an air base in Morocco. The Bronco had been painted black and had a “Soviet Red Star” applied to the tail. (Whether the airplane was black while in actual service or if it was just painted that way for the movie is unknown.) While you’re watching, you may also notice how in the scene where James Bond is fighting on the cargo net behind the plane, the plane magically keeps switching between a C-130 Hercules and a C-123 Provider!! Also notice how the sound of the engines running out of fuel is that of a radial piston engine even though the C-130 is a turboprop (that’s always bugged me…)
We would appreciate any more information or pictures on Morocco’s Broncos, either historical info or concerning their current status.
Chuck Burin sent this picture of OV-10A BuNo 155404 during a Rockwell flight test just prior to transfer to Morocco in 1981. It’s in Moroccan markings, no less… I wonder if this is the one you can see in The Living Daylights? Note – this makes a good wallpaper for your computer.
The OV-10B was manufactured for West Germany as a target-tug aircraft and is, with the exception of the OV-10D, the most radically different version of the OV-10 when compared to the basic A model. The OV-10B is derived from the OV-10A but has no weapons, no sponsons, and a glass greenhouse dome replaces the rear door so that the tow operator (who sits facing backwards in the cargo bay) can watch the towed target. The normal rear seat under the canopy was removed. The OV-10B[Z] had a GE J-85-GE-4 turbojet engine rated at 2,950 lbst mounted above the wing on struts, above the centerline of the aircraft. This served to increase speed by 100mph, halved the takeoff roll, and tripled the rate of climb although development problems led to this not seeing much use. (I have seen Broncos take off, and I will vouch for the fact that the things climb like rockets to begin with!!) Six OV-10Bs and twelve OV-10B[Z]s were ordered, and served from 1970 until the early 1990s. We have more info on the OV-10B Technical Specs page.
The German Wing of the OV-10 Bronco Association (GWOBA), based in Belgium, is currently supporting not one, but two OV-10Bs, on the airshow circuit in Europe with plans to tour the USA as well in the future. This has been a major acheivement!! You can keep up with the latest GWOBA news and find information on participating in our GWOBA section.
There is also a privately owned OV-10B that is registered in France and is currently touring the European airshow circuit. It maintains its German military configuration and colors. We hope they decide to hop the pond for a while as well! We are fortunate to be in contact with one of the former pilots of this aircraft, Jean-Loup Cardey. As of September 2003, OV-10B (French registration F-AZKM) was piloted by Bernard “Bouffi” Cayrier, Alain “Bilou” Bes and Alain “Fra” Ferrara. The aircraft is based at Montélimar, 620 km southeast from Paris with “Amicale des Avions Anciens de la Drôme”, which has about 28 preserved aircraft – only a few are flying, including one Bronco. The Bronco is an ex-Luftwaffe aircraft, registered 99+24 (s/n 158300). They also have a static Bronco (99+27) and plenty of spares.
|Stefan writes: “This OV-10 was owned by the German Airforce, but maintained and piloted by civil pilots. Lübeck is directly at the border of the former GDR; I think the combination of army pilots with army planes was forbidden during the Cold War at this airport. Blankensee was about 1km from the border. This plane was equipped with a long cable wire. At the end of this cable wire was a red & white sack. This sack was used as a shooting-target for military training.”
Another view of an OV-10B from Stefan. OV-10Bs didn’t have a seat in the rear cockpit, rather they had an observer’s station in the cargo bay which faced backwards out the greenhouse rear window. The towed target was reeled out from the under-fuselage pod.
|Chris Spinnler sent this in.
NOTE: In early 2004, Thailand retired their OV-10C fleet and transferred the airframes to the Philippine Air Force.
The Philippine Air Force has operated ex-USAF OV-10As for 26 years. There are two attack squadrons under the 15th Strike Wing, the 16th and 25th Attack Squadrons. The 16th joined the OV-10 Bronco Association on September 24, 2000 as the Philippine Wing OBA (PWOBA). The 16th has had Broncos since 1992 when they replaced the AT-28D’s flown by the unit since 1972, and they now spend much of their time performing maritime patrol over the Spratlys, forest protection, rainmaking and search and rescue missions using OV-10s. The 16th has an interesting history, including having the first two combat-qualified female pilots in the PAF (flying Broncos, of course!) The 16th has also been involved in the well-publicized anti-terrorist combat operations in late 2000 in the Jolo Islands.
The latest available news as well as additional photos concerning the 16th/PWOBA can be found in our Philippine Wing OBA (PWOBA) section.
|NOTE: Thailand has retired their entire OV-10C fleet as of early 2004. All airframes have been transferred to the Philippine Air Force.
Thirty-two OV-10C airframes were supplied to Thailand for use in the COIN role. The Thai OV-10Cs are not former USAF aircraft, instead, all were built as original C-model airframes at North American Rockwell in Columbus, Ohio. The first 16 (158396-158411) were assigned Thai numbers of 1/2513, 2/2513 and 3/2514-16/2514. These were cocooned and sent via carrier (USS Okniawa) to NAF Cam Ranh Bay, RVN in June 1971. The second group of 16 (159134-159149) were delivered in 1973 and assigned Thai numbers 17/16 through 32/16. All were ferried across the Pacific with 15 of the 16 flown by Col. Charles Quilter, USMCR (Ret.), working as a contract pilot for SKYWAYS, Inc. Charlie was a member of the USMC Reserve OV-10 Squadron at El Toro (VMO-4). He had flown F-4’s in RVN while on active duty.
(Thanks to OBA Historian Chuck Burin for details on these aircraft.)
Several sources have put the number of Thai airframes at 38. This is incorrect. Thailand obtained only 32 OV-10Cs. Brendan Searle gives us more clarification and research from the Land Down Under:
I just had a browse in our library. The following books all confirm 32 OV-10C’s total (delivery completed September 1973):
1) Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft 1974-75
2) Defense & Foreign Affairs Handbook 1996
3) The Naval Institute Guide to World Military Aviation 1995
4) Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft
5) Encyclopedia of World Air Power
The most interesting was reference 4:
Rockwell developed several production versions generally similar to the OV-10A. Thirty-two OV-10Cs were delivered to the Royal Thai air force in 1971-74, of which 24 remain with No.411 Squadron at Chiang Mai and No.711 Squadron at Surat Thani. A further order for six was apparently not undertaken.
Obviously the “38” came from 32 delivered plus another 6 ordered, but that order was subsequently cancelled.
Reference 3 contains an Aircraft Census for RTAF listing:
Rockwell OV-10C Bronco <15 COIN & FAC (w/drawn or stored)
Reference 2 lists an Air Force Battle Order:
411 Sqn. with 13 Rockwell OV-10C Bronco COIN
No other units are listed as operating Bronco’s. 711 Sqn is listed:
711 Sqn. with 10 F-5E (aggressor training)
All perfectly clear now 🙂
I think we can be confident that 32 were delivered, but I might have to revise down my guess at the number of airworthy RTAF Bronco’s… probably 10-15 right now and I expect that’ll run down as they get closer to replacement.
In addition, at least some of Thailand’s airplanes have been modified to carry 12.7mm .50-cal machine guns in place of the standard 7.62mm M60s.
Todd Jewell sent us some good first-hand info about this modification and other topics:
My information is a little dated, but the Thais used to fly OV-10s in two squadrons: one in Chiang Mai and the other in Surat Thani. I had the pleassure of flying with the Surat squadron back in 1988 as part of a Mobile Star Training Team. I was there shortly after the Chiang Mai squadron lost an airplane in a border skirmish with Laos. We helped them refine their FAC skills, which wasn’t the primary mission of their OV-10s at the time (at least not the way we practiced it.) Their aircraft were used in the attack role and, believe it or not, air defense. The Chiang Mai squadron sat air defense alert and would be the first aircraft to engage intruders from the North. The Thai F-16s were just coming on-line at this time so I’m sure the roles were adjusted subsequently. Although, due to their proximity to the border, Chiang Mai may have kept this role much longer.
The aircraft were pretty vanilla C-models (looked like the USAFs A-models), with one exception. The Thais removed the four 7.62s and installed a 50 cal in each sponson. Small ammunition storage wells extended into the cargo bay adjacent to each sponson. I don’t remember how many rounds they carried. The OV-10 was so good at light attack that, prior to the arrivial of the F-16s, they always won the annual bomb competition in Kurat (their version of Gunsmoke). Proves when it comes to iron sights, low and slow is better.
19th and 22nd TASS, 1985-1988
|I thought this OV-10A was a US Marines ship. However, we got some new info in (as of Aug. 99) from Drew Sonetirot: I know the location of that OV-10. It is located over Bangkok, Thailand. I have the same picture in a Thailand pocket book, showing all the Thai Air Force’s aircraft. It’s the same picture. However, sometimes books pull stock photos from a drawer someplace… I once saw a picture of an F/A-18 demonstrating an afterburner takeoff… in a book about the history of F-15s. So, Thai or USMC? Who knows. Thai works for me. In any case, this picture came from the Bronco page at http://18.104.22.168/dtm/4480/chpt9/bronco/67h02.htm
This aircraft, called a T.05, is at the Royal Thai Aircraft Museum. We are unclear on exactly what relationship this has to OV-10s, perhaps little to none. In any case, it’s similar enough to be of some note. The site http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviation/text/rtaf_mus.htm says of it:
TO.5, indigenous abandoned project, similar to a Bronco, but with a single pushing 3-bladed prop. White with blue trim, yellow bands on the fins. Intended to replace the O-1 Bird Dog and OV-10 Bronco.
The picture above came from http://www.kuai.se/~griffon/travels/thailand/rtaf_m01.jpg.
|Sixteen OV-10Es were supplied to the Venezuelan Air Force (The Fuerza Aérea Venezolana, usually referred to as the FAC.) These were used in combat in 1993 by anti-government rebels in a coup attempt, resulting in the loss of three aircraft shot down by forces loyal to the government, one of them shot down by another Rockwell-Columbus aircraft – the T-2D.
http://www.f-16.net/reference/users/f16_ve.html provided this additional info in December 2000:
During the military coup on November 27th, 1992 against Carlos Andres Perez, at that time President of Venezuela, one single F-16 pilot, Lt. Beltran Vielma (loyal to the government), shot down two rebel OV-10 Bronco’s, killing his brother in arms Lt. Domador. Another F-16 pilot, Capt. Helimenas Labarca, was also looking for the Bronco’s but did not find them.
After the coup , Lt. Vielma was sent to the U.S. Navy as a T-2D instructor pilot, but he soon returned to Venezuela because of language problems. Labarca deserted the FAV and is currently hospitalized with a mental disorder.
The F-16’s also attacked the Barquisimeto’s Air Base, where 12 F-5 Freedom Fighters and the 22 T-2D Buckeyes were based, destroying 8 F-5’s on the ground. That day marked one of the darkest pages in the history of Venezuela, which is still the oldest democracy in Latin America.
Today, the Grupo Aereo de Operaciones Especiales No. 15 (in other words, the the 15th SOG squadron) of the Venezuelan Air Force – known as the Bronqueros – still flies border patrol. Several of the Bronqueros’ pilots and mechanics joined us for Bronco Fest 99… we all had a great time! The OV-10 Bronco Association also participated in a great International OV-10 Symposium hosted by the FAV that included almost every country operating the OV-10 today (and some that aren’t) – you can read more here.