The Northrop F-5A and F-5B Freedom Fighter and the F-5E and F-5F Tiger II are part of a supersonic light fighter family, initially designed in the late 1950s by Northrop Corporation. Being smaller and simpler than contemporaries such as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, the F-5 cost less to both procure and operate, making it a popular export aircraft.
The F-5 was developed by Northrop Grumman for export through the Military Assistance Program (MAP) in February 1965. This aircraft was initially offered as a candidate for a U.S. lightweight fighter, but became extremely popular as an export finding its niche in the overseas market. In December 1970, Northrop Grumman began development and production on the F-5A-21, an aircraft design that emphasized maneuverability rather than high speed and was officially reclassified as the F-5E. The F-5N/Fs are third-generation F-5 fighter aircraft designed for replacement of the F-5A/B/E production models. These aging aircraft were replaced by low-hour F-5E/F aircraft acquired from the Swiss Air Force surplus by United States Navy (USN) in 2006.
The F-5F is a dual-seat version, twin-engine, tactical fighter commonly used for training and adversary combat tactics. The aircraft serves in an aggressor-training role with simulation capability of current threat aircraft in fighter combat mode.
The Swiss aircraft were updated as F-5N/Fs with modernized avionics and other improved systems and re-baselined by Northrup Grumman to USN configuration which provided a safer, lower-flight time Adversary aircraft with increased capability for Department of Navy (DoN) pilots. These aircraft are assigned to Government facilities, namely, NAS Key West, Florida, MCAS Yuma, Arizona, and NAS Fallon, Nevada and continue to support the adversary training mission.
Crew: F-5N: 1; F-5F: 2
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