Navy Mounts Broncos To Fight ISIL

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Could a future weapon in the battle against terrorist groups be found in the warbird section of your local airshow? The U.S. Navy has pressed a couple of OV-10 Broncos into the fight against ISIL. Since the terrorists don't have much in the way of anti-aircraft defenses, the big, slow Vietnam-era turboprop twins can take care of low-level attack and reconnaissance chores that modern fighters can also accomplish but at much greater expense. "Using an F-35 to fly close air support against insurgents would be akin to 'buying a brand new Rolls Royce to take the garbage to the dump,'" Capt. Bryant Davis of U.S. Central Command told CNN.

Bryant said the Broncos have already flown about 120 operational sorties. They're operated by the U.S. Navy and flown by naval aviators. They can carry a wide range of munitions from rockets to 500-pound bombs. They also have four 7.62-mm machine guns. These aircraft have also been fitted with a sensor pod and what may be a radar in the elongated nose. The Broncos cost about $5,000 an hour to fly against up to $40,000 for an F-35. The Navy, Marines and Air Force operated hundreds of Broncos as counterinsurgency, attack and airborne control aircraft until the early 1990s and most were retired by 1995. The aircraft is still in active service by Venezuela and the Philippines.

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