Cost Conscious War Horse

The OV-10G Broncos employed in Operation Inherent Resolve were specifically evaluating use of cost effective turboprop strike aircraft to improve air-to-ground coordination in low intensity combat. The six-month deployment tested the upgraded OV-10’s ability to “find, fix, and finish” targets while improving “coordination between aircrew and ground commanders,” US Central Command spokesman Capt. Bryant Davis told Air Force Magazine. Aircraft, such as the B-1B, F-15E, and the Navy’s F/A-18, are currently flying these types of missions over Iraq and Syria, but lower-cost aircraft like the Bronco could cut costs and cut wear and tear on “high-end special aviation resources,” said Davis. Two OV-10Gs armed with precision-guided munitions completed several months of evaluation in the US before deploying to the Middle East in May 2015. The aircraft returned to Pope Air Field, N.C., last October and CENTCOM is currently drafting a report to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Joint Requirements Oversight Council to allow leaders to “determine if this is a valid concept that would be effective in the current battlespace,” added Davis. “Because the report is still a draft, it would be inappropriate and premature to provide details regarding any findings or potential recommendations,” he said. The Air Force canceled its Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) program, which explored a similar capability several years ago.