Lately, the rumor mill has been abuzz with reports that Boeing has been considering the possibility of re-launching the OV-10 Bronco production line, going so far as to create a marketing brochure about the concept that it has been distributing at trade shows. Apparently, the idea thus far (and Boeing notes that their thoughts on an OV-10 revival are very preliminary) entails producing new OV-10s with essentially the same rugged airframe that has made the Bronco legendary in terms of maintenance and survivability. The instrumentation and avionics would however be drastically overhauled, and brought up to modern glass-cockpit standards and include the latest in battlefield sensor technology such as advanced Infrared sensors. The growing need for Close Air Support (CAS) and Counter-Insurgency (COIN) aircraft has lead to reviews of current and historic aircraft systems and it appears that the OV-10 keeps rising to the top of the field (no surprise there!) While these rumors have come and gone for years, we certainly hope that perhaps this time things will indeed work out to produce a "Super Bronco" to soldier on for many more decades, just as the original has done. Re-starting production of a U.S. military aircraft that has been out of production for a while is not unheard of... it's been done with some very well-known aircraft including the B-26/A-26 Invader, U-2, and C-5 Galaxy. Could the OV-10 be added to this list? Only time will tell!
Here is a list of links to articles and blogs we've been alerted to which are related to the current rumblings about re-starting OV-10 production. It also includes some material that better explains the background and justifications for doing so:
Flight International - 'Boeing considers restarting OV-10 production after 23-year hiatus' (Stephen Trimble)
News article about the possible re-activation of the Bronco production
Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis (SCEA) - 'Counterinsurgency Aircraft Procurement: An Acquisition Approach'
Small Wars Journal - 'A Method & Estimate For Counterinsurgency Aircraft Procurement' (Maj. David L. Peeler, Jr.)
Boyd Conference 2008 - 'Expanding U.S. Tactical Aviation's "Approved Belief"' (Dan Moore)
Not OV-10 specific, but some very interesting observations on the school of thought within the US command structure that discouraged low-altitude operations, which eventually pushed the Bronco out of US military service.