Over 50 years since its first flight, the OV-10 is proving to the world once again just how relevant light air support aircraft can be.
The core of the southern Filipino city of Marawi was seized by Maute and Abu Sayyaf militants, which are directly affiliated with the Islamic State, on May 23th. Since then, Philippines armed forces have performed a a rolling counter-assault on the area in an attempt to dislodge the extremists. The Philippine Air Force's go-to weapon system for the battle? The OV-10 Bronco.
The mission has proven to be extremely difficult as the fighters clearly had been planning and preparing the area for the battle for some time before executing their blitz. Stores of supplies and ammunition are said to be scattered around the city center, and tunnels are allowing the militants to disappear and reappear in a nearly magic-like manner. The use of human shields is also widespread and Filipino Marines and special operations soldiers who are trying to go door-to-door to retake the city have suffered heavy casualties.
PAF A PAF OV-10M Bronco.
It is thought that at least 138 militants and 58 Filipino troops have died in the fighting so far. That is in addition to at least 21 civilians deaths—likely the actual number is far higher. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as a result of the siege and the region has been placed under martial law over fears that the insurrection could morph and expand to a point that containing it could prove impossible.