icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

US Military tries out Vietnam War planes against ISIS

US Military tries out Vietnam War planes against ISIS
Half-century old warplanes have been tested on Islamic State targets, as the military determines whether they should become a permanent addition to their arsenal for fighting insurgencies. Proponents say the Vietnam-era jets do more for less.

The OV-10 Bronco turbo-propeller plane, first flown in 1965, is one of the “light turbo-prop aircraft” being considered for counterinsurgency operations, a US Central Command representative told CNN.

Captain Bryant Davis, a spokesman for US Central Command, said one naval aviator and one flight officer make up the entire crew, adding that the OV-10 had conducted 120 combat missions during its try-out period.

What makes the OV-10 attractive is not its speed, but lack thereof. Faster planes like the F-15 or F-35 travel much faster, but the OV-10’s cruising speed of 223 mph is better suited for supporting ground troops, especially when the enemy doesn’t have advanced anti-aircraft weaponry. The State Department has previously used the plane in drug war missions, according to The OV-10 Bronco Association.

Not only would the OV-10 allow pilots to fly lower and see the target area better, it would also save the military some money. An F-35, part of the most expensive US military weapons program in history, costs about $150 million, and to fly one for just an hour could cost around $45,000, retired naval aviator Commander Chris Harmer told CNN. An OV-10 flight is estimated to cost under $5,000.

Davis said that the results of the experimental flights have been passed on to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Joint Requirements Oversight Council.