American postwar aircraft
Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter
Northrop F-5E Tiger II
F-5A Freedom Fighter
The F-5 is a supersonic fighter combining low cost, ease of maintenance, and great
versatility. More than 2,000 F-5 aircraft have been procured by the USAF for use by allied
nations. The F-5, which resembles the USAF Northrop T-38
trainer, is suitable for
various types of ground-support and aerial intercept missions, including those which would
have to be conducted from sod fields in combat areas.
The F-5 first flew on July 30, 1959 and deliveries to the Tactical Air Command for
instructing foreign pilots began in April 1964. Pilots from Iran and South Korea were the
first to be trained in the F-5, followed by pilots from Norway, Greece, Taiwan, Spain, and
other Free World nations which have adopted the F-5. A two place combat trainer version,
the F-5B, first flew in February 1964. In 1966-67, a USAF squadron of F-5s flew combat
missions in Southeast Asia for operational evaluation purposes.
F-5E Tiger II
The F-5E "Tiger II" was a greatly improved version of the earlier F-5A
"Freedom Fighter". Redesigned as a highly maneuverable, lightweight and
inexpensive air superiority fighter, the -E featured an air-to-air fire control radar
system and a lead computing gunsight. More powerful J85 engines required the fuselage to
be both widened and lengthened. The forward wing root was redesigned to give the
"Tiger II" wing its characteristic triple delta shape.
The first flight of the F-5E was on 11 August 1972. The first USAF unit to receive the
aircraft was the 425th TFS at Williams AFB, Arizona responsible for training foreign
pilots in the F-5 aircraft. The most well known use of the "Tiger II" was as an
aggressor aircraft at the USAF Fighter Weapons School, Nellis AFB
Nevada. The aggressor pilots of the 64th Fighter Weapons Squadron were trained in Soviet
tactics and used the -Es to simulate MiG-21s
for training USAF pilots
in aerial combat skills. Eventually, aggressor squadrons were formed at RAF Alconbury,
U.K. and Clark AB, PI for training USAF pilots stationed overseas along with pilots of
friendly foreign nations.
||Two General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojets
||2x 5,013 lb
||2x 22.3 kN
|Initial climb rate
||186 sq. ft
||17.28 sq. m
||Two 20mm cannons M39; under wings up to 3,175 kg weapons
(guided missiles, bombs, rockets, cannons and ECM, on each wingtip one guided missile).
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Last updated 01.01.2017