Douglas A-26K Counter Invader
In May 1966, Detachment 1, 603d Air Commando Squadron (ACS) deployed to NKP from England AFB, Louisiana. The detachment consisted of eight B-26K propeller driven bombers sent to undergo combat tests in Laos. An early glitch arose prior to their arrival when the Thai government expressed its concern at having foreign “bombers” on its soil. But the problem was finessed smoothly when Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown simply redesignated the Big Eagle B-26Ks as “attack” aircraft, hence their new designator “A-26A.” These K model -26s were a big improvement over the B models first issued to the Air Commandos in Florida in the early 1960s. At a cost of 13 million dollars, the On Mark Engineering Company in Van Nuys, California, converted 40 of the bombers to the upgraded K configuration. Rebuilt fuselage and wing components, more powerful engines, wingtip fuel tanks, additional wing pylons to carry more munitions, and improved avionics all combined to produce one of the most deadly fighting machines of the war in Laos.