03/31/2016. Bill Pippin adds: "I was with VAL4 from 1970 to 1972 as an Aviation Ordnanceman stationed at Binh Thuy, South Vietnam. VAL4 was the squadron where two of the YOV-10Ds were evaluated. They came with a contingent of Marines and several civilians from China Lake and North American Rockwell. The entire cargo/paratroop bay was loaded with 20mm ammo on a very nice looped feed system."
In 1974, Rockwell received a USN contract to establish and test a production OV-10D configuration. This led to delivery of 17 USMC OV-10As to Rockwell's Columbus Aircraft Division, beginning in the Spring of 1978, for conversion to the NOS (Night Observation Surveillance) role. In addition to the NOS systems and the retention of basic OV-10A fuselage stores and external fuel capability, the OV-10D NOS had uprated engines, wing pylons capable of carrying rocket pods, flare pods, free-fall stores and external fuel tanks when extended radius/loiter time was required.
The Texas Instrument FLIR sensor and laser target designator were installed in a rotating ball turret in the nose. The sensor turret could be linked to a turret-mounted General Electric M-97 0.787 in (20 mm) cannon, mounted beneath the fuselage, in lieu of normal operation with standard OV-10A armament sponsons and centerline station. First-phase testing of the FLIR system and uprated engines was completed by the pictured pre-production YOV-10D in 1978.
The aircraft was used by VMO-2, MCAS Camp Pendleton, California till it was withdrawn from use and stored at AMARC on April 22, 1993. On March 21, 2001 it was struck off charge and on May 15 it was registered as N12317 to the US Department Of State at Patrick AFB, Florida. Since October 4, 2010 the aircraft is registered as N469DF to the USDA Forest Service Fepp at Mcclellan, California, and is operated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention."