Bronco II, AC-208 out of SOCOM Armed Overwatch competition

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The Paramount/Leidos Bronco II and MAG Aerospace MC-208 Guardian have been eliminated from the US Special Operation Command’s Armed Overwatch competition, leaving three other aircraft in the running for a roughly 75-aircraft order.

The remaining competitors are the Textron Aviation Defence AT-6E Wolverine, L3 AT-802U Sky Warden, and Sierra Nevada Corporation M28/C-145 Wily Coyote, Aviation Week reported last week.

The Bronco II (Mwari) was offered by a team comprising Leidos, Paramount USA, and Vertex, with the aircraft carrying out flight demonstrations in June and July 2021. However, after several successful flights, the aircraft was parked on the ground on 9 July when one of the main landing gear legs collapsed, resulting in minor damage to the aircraft.

Although Paramount/Leidos were confident the incident would not affect its chances in the competition, the Bronco II is one of the first aircraft to have been eliminated. The remaining competitors are expecting an imminent request for proposals (RFP).

The head of the Air Force’s Special Operations Command, Lieutenant General Jim Slife, last week said there is a good likelihood the armed overwatch programme will transition to procurement in fiscal year 2022.



Special Operations Command revealed its Armed Overwatch programme in February 2020. SOCOM previously evaluated the OV-10G+ Bronco in a field test in Iraq in 2015 as it pursues a light attack capability. The command is looking to budget $101 million for the first new light attack aircraft with another ten per year for the next seven years.