Philippine OV-10s Bomb ISIS
Aged attack planes resort to dumb bombs
Philippine air force OV-10 Bronco light-attack planes have bombed Maute and Abu Sayyaf insurgents – all associated with Islamic State — in the city of Marawi.
The militants seized the city in May 2017. On May 23, Philippine special operations units launched a house-to-house operation to liberate the city. The OV-10s have supported the operation with mostly unguided bombs, dropping their munitions in close proximity to friendly forces.
The 10 Broncos in the Philippine inventory include eight that the United States helped to upgrade to deliver precision-guided weapons. But a shortage of guided weapons compelled Manila to send in the OV-10s with dumb bombs.
OV-10 first flew in July 1965. The U.S. military retired the twin-prop plane in the 1990s, but recently sent two ex-NASA Broncos, with U.S. Navy crews, to the Middle East to test high-tech upgrades to the robust little planes. U.S. Central Command said the upgraded Broncos flew 134 sorties, including 120 combat missions, over a span of 82 days beginning in May 2015.
By mid-June 2017, some 200 militants remained in downtown Marawi. OV-10s and Philippine air force FA-50 jets continued to hit the insurgent holdouts. U.S. Special Operations Forces are reportedly flying small drones over the city to assist Philippine forces.