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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.

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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.

General characteristics F-5E
Primary function Lightweight fighter
Power plant Two General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojets
Thrust 2x 5,013 lb 2x 22.3 kN
Max. speed 1,082 mph 1,741 km
Initial climb rate 574 ft/s 175 m/s
Ceiling 51,800 ft 15,790 m
Range 2,314 miles 3,724 km
Combat radius 190 miles 306 km
Weight empty 9,725 lb 4,410 kg
max. takeoff 24,725 lb 11,214 kg
Wingspan 26.7 ft 8.13 m
Length 47.4 ft 14.45 m
Height 13.35 ft 4.07 m
Wingarea 186 sq. ft 17.28 sq. m
Armament 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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Jirka Wagner


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