U.S. Special Operations advances Bronco II aircraft from prototype to flying phase
The US Special Operations Command has chosen an aircraft to help operators out in austere environments- and it looks awfully similar to an older, tried-and-true warhorse.
Defense company Leidos was issued a contract for the US Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) Armed Overwatch aircraft prototype program, allowing the Bronco II to move forward.
The Bronco II, touted as a rugged, affordable and sustainable multi-mission aircraft built to meet the specific needs of special operations forces, looks similar to the Vietnam-era OV-10 Bronco, which was made by North American Rockwell.
The OV-10 was noted for its toughness and versatility, making it a popular observation and light attack aircraft with both the US Air Force and US Marine Corps.
In fact, the OV-10 was brought out of “mothball” storage in recent years to provide proof-of-concept in combat conditions.
The Bronco II may look somewhat puny compared to its forerunner, but that is partially by design- it is made to adhere to “roll-on, roll-off” standards, meaning it can be rapidly disassembled, transported and reassembled in the field by a small crew.
Sacrificing two engines for one “pusher” prop, the Bronco II can be upgraded in the field for a variety of missions.
According to a statement from the company, the Bronco II will be made in Crestview, Florida.
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