The other Vietnam-era Observation Turboprop: OV-1 Mohawk

Reading about the OV-10 Bronco for DCS reminded me of the other, less-popular and slightly more obscure aircraft, the OV-1 Mohawk. As my father was predominantly involved in Army aviation from the 70s til his retirement, I’d heard bits and pieces about this aircraft, but there was never really a lot of information on it outside of a few stories of how dangerous it could be to fly. Namely because of the extreme power in the engines and what could happen in engine out situations (it would seem Grumman had a penchant for making aircraft like this).

While looking around, I found this article from last year about the OV-1 that illustrated just how versatile it was intended to be:

I had never known that originally it was part of a joint Marine-Army requirement, and that the Navy had in fact taken delivery of the original airframes before transferring them to the Army. I do know the Air Force had a huge burr up their butt over the whole thing, complaining incessantly about both the Mohawk and the CV-2/C-7 cargo aircraft. The above article had a link to a picture that probably explained pretty succinctly why the Air Force had fits over both aircraft:

The Army was off doing their own thing, without working with the Air Force for their requirements, which I suspect was for both good and bad reasons. Regardless, it’s an interesting piece of history that doesn’t seem to get much press for a variety of reasons; I’d imagine partly because the missions were dealing heavily in intelligence gathering, which remains pretty classified even today, and partly because it blows holes in the whole “pointy nose fast fighters are the only way to go” narrative.


Planes of Fame has an OV-1. It is under restoration but it needs LOTS of TLC if it is to ever fly again.