In late 1966 the U.S. Air Force selected a military variant of the Cessna Model 337 Super Skymaster, designated the O-2, to supplement the O-1 Bird Dog forward air controller (FAC) aircraft then operating in Southeast Asia. Distinguished by twin tail booms and tandem-mounted engines, it featured a tractor-pusher propeller arrangement. Having twin engines enabled the O-2 to absorb more ground fire and still return safely, endearing it to its crews. The O-2 first flew in January 1967, and production deliveries began in March. Production ended in June 1970 after Cessna had built 532 O-2s for the USAF.
Cessna produced two series -- the O-2A and the O-2B. The O-2A carried wing pylons for rockets, flares and other light ordnance. In the FAC role, the O-2A identified and marked enemy targets with smoke rockets, coordinated air strikes and reported target damage. The O-2B operated as a psychological warfare aircraft equipped with loudspeakers and leaflet dispensers. It carried no ordnance.
The O-2A on display was assigned to the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron at Da Nang, South Vietnam, in the late 1960s. It was transferred to the museum in December 1982.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Rockets, flares, 7.62mm mini-gun pods or other light ordnance hung on four wing pylons Engines: Two 210-hp Continental 10-360s Maximum speed: 199 mph Cruising speed: 144 mph Range: 1,060 miles Ceiling: 19,300 ft. Span: 38 ft. Length: 29 ft. 2 in. Height: 9 ft. 5 in. Weight: 4,900 lbs. loaded Serial number: 67-21331