so okay... I'm *finally* reading Unintended Consequences. eek!
One question though -- is the news story about DoD surplused planes being transfered to the BATF mid-90's for FLIR observation true, or part of the novelization? If true.. what happened? Was there a stink over it at the time? I wasn't paying a lick of attention to gun-type stuff at the time.
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"Dr. Edgar A. Suter, a major pro-gun spokesman reports:
'According to the November 1994 issue of FLYING magazine, the BATF has obtained three OV-10 twin-engined "light attack and
reconnaissance" aircraft." The OV-10 "Bronco" was used in the Gulf War. Most commonly armed with rockets, it can be armed with a variety of other weapons, including machine guns and chain guns (modern versions of the Gatling Gun).'"
"On the eve of the hearings into Waco, Jerry Seper of the Washington Times reported that BATF has obtained 22 twin-engine Marine Corps ground attack aircraft.
BATF's warbirds are OV-10D Broncos, two-place twin boom turboprops with 1,040 horses per side. The three that have been inspected are equipped with the latest version Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), ground-mapping radar, and other gee-whiz equipment. Their guns have been stripped, but they have removable fuel tanks on standard hard points on which gun or rocket pods can be mounted. And strangely, at least one of the birds still has the static lines for five or six paratroopers.
I know this sounds implausible, but I have personally talked with three pilots who saw and photographed them -- and I've known two of those guys for years. And besides, BATF's press office acknowledges they have them.
Nine of these planes are operational, BATF says. The Forest Service also got some, they say. That's true, but those were OV- 10A's with far less horsepower and no fancy electronics.
While BATF claims their birds are used for "law enforcement," there's nothing in BATF's mission description that would justify such equipment -- unless they're planning more Waco raids.
If BATF's OV-10's are so innocuous, why is their ownership hidden? The planes were transferred from the Defense Department to an airplane salvage company, and the same day transferred to their supposed current owner: American Warbirds Inc. The address for American Warbirds Inc. is an industrial park in Gaithersburg, MD, with no sign on the door andno listed telephone. According to neighbors, it's a BATF electronic service shop."
March 22, 2003, 06:48 PM
The BATF bureaucrat who justified and finagled the purchase of those OV-10's ended up getting hung out to dry for doing so.
Since that time, with the ruckus created, the U.S. State Department has rather quietly acquired those BATF Broncos, along with several others, and fitted them with spraybars for counter-narcotic work. Yup, they're loaded up with RoundUp, and fly over coca fields in South America, and come home with neat little .30 caliber holes courtesy of Juan Pablo Valdez Escobar's AK. (They're not too keen on planes spraying herbicide on their cash crops)
How do I know? I'm stationed at Patrick AFB, FL - depot for the State Department's OV-10 fleet. We regular Air Force flyers refer to the State Department OV-10 RoundUp flyers as mercenaries. They get paid rather well for doing that job.
Here's one link to the description:
and here's what the business end of the OV-10D sprayer looks like: