North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco light attack and observation turboprop aircraft, designed for counter-insurgency (COIN) combat.
With up to 3 tonnes of cargo capacity, excellent STOL characteristics and superb maneuverability, it is considered the best COIN aircraft ever designed, and the only one with a cargo hold that allowed it to deploy paratroopers.
The LEM was designed to act as a passive target when docking with the CSM. Once the probe has ‘hooked’ on to the drogue of the LM, the probe retracts, this establishes what is known as a hard-dock. The crew checks that all 12 of the latches in the docking ring are secured to ensure the integrity of the seal. The forward crew transfer hatch allows for the gradual equalization of pressure between the CM and LM. Finally, when equalization is complete, hatch, probe, and drogue are removed and stowed, then crew opens LM’s upper hatch.
Used primarily as an armed recce plane for long-range artillery and naval guns, the Bronco was also employed for low-level photography. There were deployed over 17 Broncos in two Marine Squadrons from Camp Pendleton and MCAS New River. The OV-10 Bronco was also useful escorting helicopters into enemy territory due to its low speed. It was used too as an observation airplane for the A-10s.