Vietnam War attack plane to fly in Southport Air Show for first time

An aircraft which flew combat missions in the Vietnam War will make its first ever appearance at Southport Air Show.

The North American Aviation Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a turboprop light attack and observation aircraft which flew many missions in the conflict.

The Americans lost 81 OV-10 Broncos during the war.

Jo Dwyer from Sefton Tourism, organisers of the event, said: “It was developed in the 1960s for counter insurgency (COIN) combat. One of its primary missions was as a forward air control (FAC) aircraft in the Vietnam War.”

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Southport Air Show

The aircraft was initially conceived in the early 1960s. It has a central nacelle containing pilots and cargo, and twin booms containing twin turboprop engines.

The Bronco performed observation, forward air control, helicopter escort, armed reconnaissance, utility light air transport and limited ground attack.

It has also performed aerial radiological reconnaissance, tactical air observation, artillery and naval gunfire spotting, airborne control of tactical air support operations and front line, low-level aerial photography.

The North American Aviation Rockwell OV-10 Bronco will fly at Southport Air Show for the first time. Photo by Paul Johnson/Flightline UK

The first combat USAF OV-10As arrived in Vietnam on July 31, 1968 as part of “Operation Combat Bronco”.

Among their roles was supporting the destruction and disruption of troops and supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail by illuminating targets for laser-guided bombs dropped by McDonnell F-4 Phantom IIs.

The OV-10 served in the US Air Force, US Marine Corps, and US Navy, as well as in the service of a number of other countries. A total of 81 OV-10 Broncos were ultimately lost to all causes during the course of the Vietnam War, with the Air Force losing 64, the Navy 7 and the Marines 10.

The OV-10 operated as a forward air controller and was finally phased out of the Marine Corps in 1995 following its employment during Operation Desert Storm in the Iraq War, which also saw the final combat losses of OV-10s by US forces.

The North American Aviation Rockwell OV-10 Bronco will fly at Southport Air Show for the first time. Photo by Paul Johnson/Flightline UK

Boeing has recently put together plans internally to build a modernised, improved version of the Bronco, called the OV-10X, to be used as a potential light attack plane.

The Bronco is among a wide array of amazing aircraft flying at the 2016 Southport Air Show.

The main event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 10-11, but on Friday, September 9, the skies will be lit up with a dusk fly past and a display of aircraft illuminated with LED lights.

For more information or to book tickets go to southportairshow.com