F-5 Freedom Fighter

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F-5 Freedom Fighter
Canadian Air Force CF-116 Freedom Fighters
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Canadian Air Force CF-116 Freedom Fighters
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
(for the F-5 Tiger II)
Description
Role Light tactical fighter
Crew 1
Dimensions
Length 47 ft 4.75 in 14.45 m
Wingspan
(without AAMs)
26 ft 8 in 8.13 m
Wingspan
(with AAMs)
28 ft 8.5 3m
Height 13 ft 4.5 in 4.08 m
Wing area 186 ft² 17.28 m²
Weights
Empty 9,558 lb 4,349 kg
Loaded
Maximum take-off 24,664 lb 11,187 kg
Fuel
Internal 677 US gal 2,563 L
External
(up to 3 drop tanks)
275 US gal per tank 1,040 L per tank
Powerplant
Engines 2 × General Electric J85-GE-21B
Thrust (dry) 3,500 lbf 15.5 kN
Thrust (afterburner) 5,000 lbf 22.2 kN
Performance
Maximum speed 917 knots 1,700 km/h
Combat radius 760 nautical miles 1,405 km
Ferry range 2,010 nautical miles 3,720 km
Service ceiling 51,800 ft 15,590 m
Rate of climb 34,400 ft/min 10,455 m/min
Armament
Guns Two 20-mm Pontiac M39A2 cannon with 280 rounds per gun
Bombs Up to 7000 lb (3175 kg) mixed
 M129 Leaflet
 500-lb (225-kg) Mk82
 2000-lb (900-kg) Mk84
 CBU-24/49/52/58 Cluster
Missiles AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-9 Sidewinder
AGM-65 Maverick
AIM-120 AMRAAM Python-3 (on Thailand's upgrade F-5T) and Python-4 (on Singapore's upgraded F-5S/T and Thailand's upgrade F-5T)

The F-5 Freedom Fighter (or Tiger II) is a fighter aircraft, designed and built by Northrop in the USA, beginning in 1962.

Originally designed by Northrop (designated N-156) as a low-cost, low-maintenance fighter, there was little market for such a craft. The U.S. Army expressed interest in it for ground support, but operating fixed-wing aircraft was a U.S. Air Force responsibility and the Air Force would neither agree to operate the N-156 nor to allow the Army to operate fixed-wing combat aircraft. The F-5 proved to be a successful combat aircraft that never entered frontline service with the US due to diverging priorities of the US services.

When the Military Assistance Program under the Kennedy Administration needed a low cost fighter for distribution to less-developed nations, the N-156F was top of the pile, and subsequently became the F-5A. The first contract for the production F-5A was issued in 1962, the first overseas order coming from Norway in February 1964. 636 F-5As were built before production ended in 1972. These were accompanied by 200 two-seat F-5B aircraft. These were operational trainers, lacking the nose-mounted cannon but otherwise combat-capable.

The USAF made a combat evaluation of the F-5A under the Skoshi Tiger (little tiger) program in 1965. 12 aircraft were delivered for trials to the 4503rd Tactical Fighter Wing (subsequently the 10th Fighter Commando Squadron), redesignated F-5C. They performed combat duty in Vietnam, flying more than 3,500 sorties from the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Bien Hoa in South Vietnam. Two aircraft were lost in combat. The program was short-lived, more a political gesture than a serious consideration of the type for U.S. service. The 10th FCS's surviving aircraft were subsequently turned over to the air force of South Vietnam. Ironically, when Bien Hoa was later overrun by Communist forces, several of the aircraft were captured and used operationally by the NVAF.

In 1970 Northrop won a competition for an improved International Fighter Aircraft (IFA) to replace the F-5A. The resultant aircraft, initially known as F-5A-21, subsequently became the F-5E. It was lengthened and enlarged, with increased wing area and more sophisticated avionics, initially with an Emerson AN/APQ-159 radar (the F-5A and -B had no radar). Various specific avionics fits could be accommodated at customer request. A two-seat combat-capable trainer, the F-5F, was offered. Unlike the gunless F-5B, it retained a single M39 cannon in the nose, albeit with a reduced ammunition capacity. A reconnaissance version, the RF-5E Tigereye, with a sensor package in the nose displacing the radar and one cannon, was also offered.

The F-5E eventually received the official popular name Tiger II. It is sometimes incorrectly thought to be the only aircraft designated as its own replacement; in fact, the previous "Tiger" was the Grumman F11F/F-11. The AV-8B Harrier II, which followed the AV-8A/C Harrier, is the only aircraft to have truly been designated as its own replacement.

Northrop built 792 F-5Es, 140 F-5Fs and 12 RF-5Es. More were built under license overseas: 56 F-5Es and -Fs plus 5 RF-5Es in Malaysia (Plan to sell them after being upgraded), 90 F-5Es and -Fs in Switzerland, 68 in South Korea, and 380 in Taiwan.

Various F-5 versions remain in service with many nations. The most advanced are those of Singapore, which has approximately 49 modernised and re-designated F-5S (single-seaters) and F-5T (two-seaters) aircarft. Upgrades include new radar, manufactured by Israeli, updated cockpits with multi-function displays, and compatibility with the Rafael Python and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles.

Although the United States does not use the F-5 in a frontline role, it was adopted for an opposing-forces (OPFOR) "aggressor" training role because of its performance similarities to the Soviet MiG-21. A trainer version, the T-38 Talon, was adopted by the U.S. Air Force as a pilot's first introduction to supersonic flight.

Northrop attempted to develop an advanced version of the F-5E, originally designated F-5G, as an export competitor for the F-16. The -5G was later redesignated the F-20 Tigershark.

The F/A-18 Hornet was derived from the YF-17 Cobra, which in turn was based in part on the F-5 Tiger II.

Related content
Related Development

T-38 - F-20 - X-29 - IAMI Azarakhsh

Similar Aircraft

Aeritalia G.91 - Dassault Etendard

Designation Series

F-2 - F-3 - F-4 - F-5 - F-6 - F-7 - F-8

Related Lists List of military aircraft of the United States - List of fighter aircraft


Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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nl:F-5 Freedom Fighter sv:Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter

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