Great Planes – Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter



armed and ready South Vietnamese Air Force f5s commence a strike mission these planes were designed to very specific requirements they were to be small lightweight and low-cost they were the first weapon system developed by the United States government to meet the conditions and requirements of the military assistance program these planes were designed to be supplied to the United States small allies over 20 countries employed them they were the northrop f-5 freedom fighters the f5s development defied current trends in fighter aircraft other manufacturers were producing planes that were getting bigger and more complex with the reappraisal of military needs after career providing financial support the united states was pursuing technology new avionics missiles and engines dictated growth in the size of fighter aircraft but the northrop company when its own way Northrop's design team research the basic question of fighter aircraft and arrived at a set of general requirements as they saw it the most important of these was the need to keep the plane small in a classic case of successful innovation the reappraisal not only led to the family of f5s but has had a much wider effect on the development of fighter aircraft since the role the plane was built to fill was a humble one but there was nothing humble about northrop's little masterpiece it emerged as a maneuverable and highly effective weapon these planes are f5 sees a rare type 19 f5 s will react whipped for the US air force combat trials in Vietnam because of these modifications they were given the separate designation they were much better known as the Scotia Tigers after their USAF action the modified planes were handed to the VNAF and became South Vietnam's first modern jet fighters in time about 200 F fives were used by the Vietnamese the Vietnam combat use of the freedom fighters confirm their effectiveness and underlined how much of a difference they made to the operational capacity of a small nation's Air Force orders flowed in to Northrop and f5s spread round the globe in action the Vietnamese pilots aggression combined well with the little planes accuracy particularly in ground attack the planes load was small but the precision of its delivery made up for the lack of bulk the f5 successful Vietnam deployment underlined the value of northrop's development work the design teams obsessions were vindicated the planes were simple and easy to maintain their reliability gave them an edge over other types they established the highest operational readiness figures with the lowest maintenance man-hours the f5 Z's of control stability maneuverability and accuracy endeared it to its pilots unfortunately it was involved in little air-to-air combat and it's extraordinary agility in a dogfight was not demonstrated it would be ten years after Vietnam before the virtues of the lightweight fighter became more widely recognized ironically this would be especially so in the USA where the freedom fighter was developed the f5s development goes back to 1955 when Northrop completed the first phase of its fighter studies they produced a design the N one five six to serve as the basis for development of either a supersonic trainer or a lightweight fighter the USAF was uninterested in anything small as a fighter but the attractions of the design as a trainer could not be ignored on the 15th of June 1956 the go-ahead was given for the production of prototypes of what became known as the t-38 Talon on April the 10th 1959 the first t-38 took to the air in a test series that was remarkable for its smoothness it was the first supersonic plane to go through testing without a major accident there were no aerodynamic changes and the plane exhibited no vices the t-38 came out with an instantly established reputation for outstanding flight handling and forgiving characteristics after the success of the initial flights larger orders flowed in and by October 1959 production was stepped up from two planes a month to ten eventually nearly 1,200 t-38s were built meanwhile the company had continued to develop the fighter version at its own expense tailoring it to the emerging market with less wealthy American allies this may have been a gamble but it was a well-informed one US defense officials could see the logic of supporting Allied nations with equipment additionally it made sense to equip them with combat capable modern weapons rather than hand-me-downs an ally with obsolete equipment is of limited use in May 1958 the company was instructed to go ahead with construction of three prototype n15 six fighters the established t-38 tooling accelerated construction and the first plane was able to make its first flight only 14 months later despite the success of testing the USAF had no desire for a small plane for its own use and there was no program to cover development for use by other countries only two of the prototypes were completed the third part constructed was stored the US army became very interested in the n1 v 6f for a time for ground attack and close support in competition with other aircraft the n1 v 6f demonstrated outstanding capabilities it also impressed with its reliability and ease of maintenance but the army competition was called off the responsibility for operating such high-performance land-based fighter aircraft is something guarded closely by the Air Force therefore if the freedom fighter was to come into US service it would have to be operated by the USAF the Air Force had already shown no interest in the plane for itself and was unprepared to operate them for the army or let the army operate them for itself the n1 v 6f project languished Northrop were very confident that they had a great plane and everybody who came into contact with it was impressed however there were no buyers it was to be May 1962 almost three years after the first flight before there was any success for the project the Department of Defense had continued to review the needs of the United States allies in NATO and seto existing practice was to supply the poorest countries with ageing US jets that had passed their use by date as far as the Air Force was concerned this was an inefficient use of the Allied Defense Force resources what was needed was just what Northrop had designed the Kennedy administration had vowed to pay any price for the maintenance of freedom including active re-equipping of Allied forces and Northrop splain was the only serious u.s. contender for a lightweight low-cost fighter it was therefore announced that the n1 5/6 had been chosen as the defensive arm to be supplied to favored nations under the military assistance program ma p in October 1962 the program was formalized orders were placed for two versions of the n1 v 6f a single-seat fighter at a twin seed version to double as a trainer these were given the USAF designations f5 a and B the partially built third in one five six F prototype was still in storage and this was completed to the new specifications as the yf5 a the first flight of the new plane took place on July the 31st 1963 Northrup test pilot and chateaux took the controls for what proved to be an incident free flight as with the t-38 and n15 six trials the testing program passed without any hitches changes from the earlier designs had been few principally in more powerful engines and increased weapons law the plane was also given a more rugged landing gear for rough terrain use despite the increased load and heavier engines the f5 was still tiny compared with other fighters of the day for example it was about 1/3 the weight of an f4 phantom the key to its size was the power plants chosen for the plane Northrup's designers had been quick to notice the development of small turbo jets they'd been designed for use in missiles but the Northrop team saw in them the opportunity to gain significant savings in thrust to power plant weight and also incorporate the safety package provided by a second engine the two engines were located side-by-side in the aft fuselage the f5 engines each weighed only 570 pounds including the afterburners and delivered four thousand and eighty pounds of thrust the simple two-point mounting on two built-in overhead tracks maintenance was so simple that a crew of three could remove and replace an engine in 20 minutes part of northrop's concept had been the importance of simplifying maintenance and the design incorporated many features which directly address this further the plane had little in the way of complex avionics and electronics a very high operational readiness achieved with the planes is due in no small part to the ease and simplicity of ground handling and overhaul tasks this is especially noticeable in comparison with other supersonic aircraft a total of eight aircraft were used in the development and flight test program and these were soon followed by production models initial deliveries were made to the USAF Tactical Air Command at Williams Air Force Base in 1964 here US air and ground crew trained on the aircraft the job of these men would be to instruct foreign servicemen in the planes maintenance and operation each em AP country receiving the f5 would send a group of pilots and other specialists for a training course the aim was to have these people return to their homelands qualified to act as instructors the f5 s used in this program all carried USAF markings but were in fact owned by the countries concerned the first classes got underway in September 1964 with crew from Iran and Korea us pilots working with the military assistance advisory group also attended this course it would be their job to advise f5 customers on how best to integrate the new planes into their inventories and how best to employ them in the field the f5b two-seaters had also passed their testing with flying colors and they too started to be delivered they were equipped with dual controls and the instructor pilot seated well above the forward cockpit could take over if needed in addition to this training capability the planes also doubled as attack aircraft given the impoverishment of many of the client nations the plane was designed to cope with rough terrain and rudimentary or non-existent landing grounds the ruggedness and stability of the little planes was best demonstrated in this type of operation the limiting of sophistication in the plane may have compromised some aspects of its performance but for its customers it was the only option they found that it ideally matched their capabilities and budgets and gave them a very capable defensive and offensive strike but most of the air forces in question this was the first time they deployed effective modern combat aircraft one of Northrop's major problems in scaling down a fighter was to incorporate commonality with established weapons in the infantry special care is needed in the design of small planes since standard items such as stores pylons and ammunition belts are proportionately large the bulk of these common systems ultimately sets a minimum practical size for the aircraft the f5a was equipped with two nose-mounted 20 millimeter cannon 280 rounds of ammunition were carried for each gun as with all aspects of ground handling the routines to access clear load and arm the guns were simple everything was within reach of the crewman standing on the ground the built-in maintenance simplicity extended to tasks like aiming the guns with minimal skill levels and a few simple tools required this was established with little difficulty the guns themselves were rapid firing capable of 1,500 rounds a minute a short burst from two cannon could do a lot of damage in addition Sidewinder missiles could be mounted on the wingtips to give the little fighter a hefty air-to-air punch with the stability and easy control of the f5 formidable accuracy with the cannon was achievable below the twin-seat b-model carried no knows kevin both versions had seven external store stations these accommodated a full spectrum of tactical ordnance and fuel missiles bombs napalm and rockets could be carried in combination as required for a mission the load could range up to 6200 pounds as a tactical support weapon the f5 proved it's worth repeatedly the combination of its excellent high and low speed manoeuvrability unrestricted visibility Rapid Response speed and stability made it an excellent close support and interdiction fighter on its introduction in 1964 the f5 made a considerable impact in 1964 and 1965 the plane captured 85 percent of the weapons meats in which it was entered these formal contests took place both in the USA and overseas and pitted the freedom fighter against a variety of the West's best frontline fighters a little plane embodied virtues that made it a real handful to contend with the initial orders placed by the Defense Department in 1962 totaled 71 f5 A's and 15 B's many more orders were to flow into Northrop in the following years the first f5 to go into service were activated by Iran in February 1965 by the end of that year another five air forces had taken delivery of the new planes in addition several other significant orders have been placed for f5 production the plane was so impressive that several non ma p countries decided to buy the type themselves even as early as 1964 agreements were reached with Norway and Spain the latter including under licensed production in 1965 Canada also decided to buy the freedom fighter once again with production in the customers factory each year more countries joined the list area ruling had been applied to the plane this concept developed by NASA held that the cross-section of the complete aircraft should vary smoothly along its length the waist given to the fuselage above the wing is in recognition of the additional forward-facing area of the wing itself it was the area ruling that resulted in the f5s slimmed hips and the overall smoothness of the aircraft's lines this was even carried to the point of area ruling the wingtip fuel tanks the limitations of the f5 were compensated for by the power and sophistication of the weapons it could employ with Sidewinders and canon it was a dangerously competent interceptor in addition a new role had been developed for it with a production of a camera pack allied with external fuel storage this turned the plane into a long-range reconnaissance aircraft in its primary tactical role four of the big bullpup missiles for up to 76 rockets gave a potent ground attack force all the fuel storage internal and external was pressure filled in minutes from a single fuel Inlet this was one of the many ways in which the importance of simple maintenance had been recognized in the design over a quarter of the surface of the plane was made up of hatches and removable panels this ease of access to the plane's equipment was reinforced by the racking of components one deep in the fuselage all the major components could be accessed and serviced with ease special testing equipment was minimal and was itself designed to be rugged portable and simple to operate compared with other aircraft capable of the same operational missions the maintenance requirements of the f5 were minimal this aspect of the planes design was a total success the f5s load was almost 50% of its weight which gave at the highest payload to weight ratio of any supersonic fighter with the aerodynamic efficiency of the shape the limited power of the small engines was able to push the fighter along at about mark 1.3 it's supersonic capability was not limited by the airframe but that of the turbojet the design was capable of much higher speeds and the limits of the power plants would it be a constant criticism however given that the engines had been the key to the small size of the fighter this compromise was unavoidable in recognition of the potential of the design in the close support role the USAF decided to trial the planes under combat conditions in Vietnam in what was known as Operation scotia Tiger 19 aircrafts will react whipped to a USAF standard in 1965 with harriel refueling system armor plating and jettisonable pylons these modified planes were designated as f5 sees the planes arrived in Vietnam on the 23rd of October and flew their first combat mission within hours of arriving during the 150 day evaluation the Scotia Tigers flew more than 3,500 sorties with an average combat load of around 2,500 pounds most missions were flown with 500 or 750 pound bombs although a variety of ordnance was delivered the mission types included close support interdiction armed reconnaissance escort and mid-cap the f5s endeared themselves to their pilots and impressed the ground troops with their stability accuracy and reliability amazingly high readiness rates were established by the end of the trial practice had reduced the maintenance per flight to 6.5 hours Northrop's expectation had been 21 hours and this would have been a reasonably acceptable figure the mission abort rate was a very low 1.5 percent faced with this sort of evidence the USAF once again looked at the f5 the outstanding performance naturally suggested an advanced version to overcome the niggling doubts about its engine power range and load as a variation to the f5 a and B newer and more powerful engines were adopted in addition many of the variations provided for individual buyers were re-evaluated any performance enhancements were incorporated into the new design this work began in April 1968 but was canceled in late 1969 with the announcement of a new competition to decide on a successor to the f5 for the M AP program Northrop sentry in this competition was the newly developed f5 variant forged out of the Vietnam experience the f5 was announced as its own replacement but to lessen confusion and to recognize the changes to the design new designations were issued the single-seat version would be the f5 II and the twin-seat would be known as the f5 F in the fall of 1971 it was also announced that recognizing the work of the Scotia Tigers and their influence on the successful design the plane would be known as the tiger – given that the word Scotia is Japanese for small the use of the whole title would have been appropriate the f5 s were certainly small and tigerish enough the rollout of the new plane took place on the 23rd of June 1972 but the first flight followed on August the 11th progress to that time can be simply measured in eight years of production over 11-hundred a and B models had been manufactured for service in the air forces of over 20 countries northrop's midget had turned into a giant sales success the f-5e engines developed 5,000 pounds of thrust an increase of over 20% but some of the additional thrust was cancelled by increases in the weight of the plane though the new version had increased power experience would show that this was still not enough to fully exploit the virtues of the airframe lightly loaded and flat-out the II was capable of mark 1.6 but was more comfortable cruising at high subsonic speeds the tiger airframe was basically the same as the earlier models the fuselage was slightly wider and there were several refinements to the plane shape but the original design work had been so good but there was little alteration needed the fuselage was all-metal with a stressed skin semi-monocoque structure some steel and titanium were used in the aft fuselage but the plane was primarily riveted aluminium the wings were constructed as one piece carrying through from tip to tip this eliminated splices in the heavily loaded members with the exception of steel ribs supporting the landing gear and wingtips tor station construction was all aluminium the wing skins were largely shaped with chemical milling methods the planes combat sophistication took a leap forward with the addition of a fire control radar system and computer gun sign this provided target detection range tracking and lead computation for the cannon as well as range envelope calculation for the Sidewinders air-to-ground delivery was also enhanced with rolls stabilizing aiming references several changes were directed at improving takeoff performance these included air doors to increase airflow and a two-position nose gear to add three percent to the angle of attack with these modifications and the engines added power takeoff performance was improved by 30 percent even with these and other changes Northrop were able to retain 75% of the tooling masters of the earlier models in service 40% of the spares and 70% of the ground support equipment remained unchanged early f5 ease had interchangeable nose sections which allowed a reconnaissance fit to be installed in 1978 however a specialized reconnaissance version was developed with a lengthened nose and a variety of options in load in addition to cameras this included side and for scanning infrared equipment another highly effective and sophisticated modern surveillance and search electronics loaded in pallets the selected fit could be quickly installed for any mission requirement the reconversion christened the tiger i retained its Sidewinders and a single cannon development was funded by the company and resulted in a very competent specialist aircraft northrop's radical small fighter had now progressed to become a family of planes production had switched smoothly to the new model the first f5 es were delivered by the end of 1973 by 1976 Northrop sale of t-38s and f5 s had passed 3,000 with orders for tiger two's still coming in t-38 production ended in 1972 with delivery to the USAF of the last of 1189 aircraft produced production of the tiger ii continued for another 17 years the final E and F models were delivered to the Singapore Air Force in 1989 the total number of t-38 and f5s manufactured was 3806 the t-38 Talon was the only version of the plane to go into use with the USAF in large numbers 1139 were purchased in 1974 by then a 15 year old design it received further recognition with its adoption by the Thunderbirds display team replacing the much larger f4 phantom a t-38 brought its characteristic precision and maneuverability to the team in addition it was established that the team could operate for talons for the same as it cost to operate one phantom the f-5e tiger ii was to be the most prolific model with a range of standards of equipment tailored to the economic capacity of the buyer many sales were arranged outside the Defense Department M ap sponsorship these included highly refined electronics packages on aircraft for Saudi Arabia the Saudi plans with inertial navigation radar warning chaff or flare dispensers and maverick missiles were extremely able fighters reception of the tiger ii was mixed its virtues were acknowledged but still the plane failed to win a large USAF order again the f5 was judged to be lacking power this penalty imposed by the central concern to keep the weight of the plane down undermine the plane's phenomenal maneuverability and flight handling throughout its life the f5 was looked down on by many experts because of the idea that it was so underpowered as to be restricted this opinion ignored a great deal of what the experience in Vietnam taught a lot of the accepted wisdom of post Korea theory had been reversed in Vietnam and the Middle East fighter design was based on the idea of supersonic aircraft exchanging missile attacks at extreme range however this was unrealistic in fact very little air combat takes place at supersonic speeds or at extreme range once planes join combat and begin extreme maneuvers speed is rapidly lost old-fashioned dogfighting follows with aircraft in close contact desperately trying to gain advantage in these circumstances the f5 cannot fly almost anything in the sky the USAF inventory has not had any other plane which shares the f5 specifications perhaps the nearest comparison would be with the Soviet mig-21 that the MIG had a more powerful engine and could exceed mark 2 this was its only real advantage over the tiger the MIG though very maneuverable has had a checkered career with some of its variants being dangerous in head-on combat the planes would be very evenly matched a greater sophistication of the Tigers avionics and the reliability of its weapons would have served to even things up sales of the f-5e bolstered the capability of small air forces worldwide arrangements were made for overseas manufacture adding production agreements with switzerland and taiwan in its role as the military assistance programs basic inventory it complemented the earlier models success a combination of low cost and high efficiency with rugged simplicity was unavailable in any other us design the strength of the Western alliances was immeasurably increased by the program throughout South America the Middle East and Asia nations with small economies had their airpower transformed what is surprising is the number of planes sold into Europe these purchasing decisions like the Saudi orders were not economically driven countries like Norway Switzerland and the Netherlands are not impoverished these nations decided that there was no purpose in the purchase of larger more complex and more expensive aircraft the roles that the f5 could easily perform there was also one communist air force using air phibes with the fall of south vietnam the north vietnamese captured and operated 87 f5s of various models these planes were later used with considerable success against Chinese aircraft in border clashes the final development of the f5 family was the f5 G engines had developed dramatically in the long lifespan of the f5 more power was available from new small and lightweight engines the plane was redesigned with the engine from the f-18 which produced 16,000 pounds of thrust for the first time the aircraft was matched with sufficient power and the result was a further remarkable advance in the f5 s capability this was the first radical redesign of the plane and was subsequently redesignated as the f-20 tigershark with power aplenty available Northrop were able to pack additional capability into the plane though larger than its predecessors it was still a small fighter but its capacity now stretched comfortably up to Mach 2 this was achieved without the loss of any of the f5 s outstanding maneuvering and handling the work started as a co-production effort with Taiwan and though a presidential veto was placed on the Taiwan deal Northrop continued to refine the plane up to 1980 surprisingly despite the outstanding ability and competitiveness of the tiger shark no sales were forthcoming it had overcome doubts about the plane's performance its takeoff was outstanding its electronics fit state-of-the-art and its price was still low for a high-tech aircraft Northrop accepted the lack of orders and the tiger shark was abandoned effectively closing the development of the family of little fighters over the years the qualities of the f5 and t-38 design have seen the little planes entrusted with some very significant roles because of its two seats speed stability and agility it proved to be an excellent chase plane it has played an important part in some of the United States most significant aviation projects when the xb-70 S tires ignited on landing the pilot heard about it first from a t-38 alongside similarly it was the t-38 crew who noticed fuel leaking from a broken seal on the space shuttle during one of its glide trials the role of the chase planes in a test program is an active one they're not merely observers and recorders at the test planes behavior they're in constant contact with the test pilot and are sometimes able to tell him things about his aircraft but he and his instruments are unable to establish sometimes that information is critically important from the beginning of its career the t-38 and f5 design has always displayed impeccable handling and stability it's always had enough aerobatic ability to please the most demanding of pilots NASA obtained t-38s for the astronauts to maintain their pilot skills the little trainers also found their way into many niches in the US including Mission Support with a Strategic Air Command chase and test support for the aerospace research pilot school range support at Eglin Air Force Base and their service with the Thunderbirds bf5 also resurfaced in the x-29 program here accompanied by a t-38 chase plane the forward-swept wing explained is seen during its test series the fuselage is that of an f5 with undercarriage from an f-16 melded to the exotic wing and it's enhanced maneuverability the simplicity of construction strength and aerodynamic soundness of the f5 suggested its use for such a transmutation the x-29 is an experiment to establish the face of the next generations of fighters it's fitting that the f5 should be involved at one time most exercises were conducted within wings this meant that pilots were pitted in practice against the same type of craft they were flying themselves in real combat this is one of the least likely scenarios the US Navy developed its scheme to remedy this problem under the acronym tact for dissimilar air combat tactics this has become far better known as Top Gun training in essence this training tries as realistically as possible to reproduce combat conditions in the end the united states also had a supply of f5 e's these were aircraft that had been earmarked for the south vietnamese before their collapse these 70 aircraft form the basis for the aggressor squadrons in the USAF equivalent to top gun' the red flag exercise flown by some of the air force's best pilots the f5 squadrons are a force to be reckoned with the f5 s are used in part because of their similar characteristics to the mig-21 and the pilots trained in Russian tactics formations and maneuvers in the conduct of the exercises Nellis Air Force Base becomes a combat deployment for the squadrons involved this includes the limited support facilities and organizational difficulties to be expected in a combat situation it's employed because they found out where these plans can do in a wartime situation and that's good practice for both the Fugees or the planes and uh aircrew over the period of their use in red flag the f5s have come up against virtually every frontline fighter in the West the aggressor pilots are very experienced and have become specialists in red flag however it's still sobering to Moke but against the best fighters the Western powers have had over the last twenty years there's no type that has established a clear ascendancy over the Tigers kaby that pass now won 5-0 [Applause] for 40 miles too many try to hit over there way kids shop at farmer's day about 1 0 ok the Lee just went in right here turn to south compartment 1 8 0 I'll check on the nose mile [Applause] the opponents of the Tigers in these exercises were frontline squadrons equipped with the best aircraft and trained to the highest standards the electronically assessed red flag kill ratios favored types like the f-15 and f-14 which are truly awesome systems against the f5 but the margin is small and if the number of planes shot down is compared to the dollar value of those planes then the results change dramatically the red flag exercises with f5 s tend to indicate that a force of tigers would prevail with a margin against the equivalent dollar value of any other type of plan this includes types at a far more recent designs this not only puts the f5 into a more favorable light but dismisses many long-established criticisms of this unique family of airplanes you you

32 thoughts on “Great Planes – Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter

  • Very surprised that the Israelis never bought a few of these as instant interceptors. I guess that the Israelis wanted a fighter that had more loiter time for combat like the F-15 and F-16. But their armor and infantry units engaged in combat would have had those assets during 1967 and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. If Israel had these planes 1973 War wouldn't have been really cut short. More planes meaning that the Egyptians would have been destroyed at once in their crossing of the Suez Canal and their air defenses smashed at the same time since they have a good idea where to respond. The Golan Heights would have been a show stopper to destroy the main avenue of approach by enemy armor and to engaged the Syrian and Jordanian Air Force. This plane if bought by Israel would have been a game changer by more planes and more combat pilots. Same concept today as their Iron Dome but with fighter planes. I wouldn't say that this would have ended hostilities between the Arab countries against Israel. But just better defenses against sudden strikes from their enemies. The Arab mind set is no compromise but conquer. They can make treaties using deception until the time is right for total conquest. To the Arabs when talking peace to them means that is a sign of weakness. Arabs only understand force. Might means right. The Ottoman Turks understood this when they occupied what is now Saudi Arabia before WWI and the 500 years before that total military supremacy is vital to total control of the region part of their empire.

  • While I agree with most comments here, especially regarding the plane's small figure and relatively inexpensive price and logistics, I flew the original plane and I can tell you it had its shortcomings and wasn't a great dogfighter against top contemporary planes like the Dassault Mirage or MIG 21 due to its stubby wings and short range, similar to the F-104. On the other hand, a country with a lot of cheap F-5s could mount a huge problem to any enemy, as "quantity has a quality of its own," as a Soviet general is supposed to have said. Cheers!

  • I always wondered if these little wonder planes could be fitted with radar absorbing paint. With advances in technology, miniaturization of nearly all electronics and computers, the use of thrust vectoring, etc. I also wonder if these planes could still outfight many of the newer ones.

  • video from 7 years ago today is April 27/2019, not sure why utube keeps putting such old videos in my suggestions

  • With some upgrades this thing could easily be a viable fighter today. But then they couldn't get their nearly trillion dollar budget.

  • USAF still flies T-38. F-5 is great but no match to F-16 or F-18. The argument of cost per plane, really is irrelevant. USA will throw a ton of money to protect the pilots, not throw up more airplanes to be shot down. They don't want an even match they want air superiority Above & Beyond.

  • Small, agile, inexpensive, and utterly useless as a combat aircraft. I'd take an F-4 over this every time.

  • To this date I believe the reason the F5 was never picked-up by the Air Force was Sheer pride in a wounded ego. The N156 project originally was a request by the Department of the Navy for a small tactical fighter that could take of and land on it's existing smaller Escort carriers which could not support the newer larger F8 and F4 aircraft, (if you look under the tail of any F5 they have a tail-hook) .
    But in the end dwindling budgets forced the Navy into selecting to support only its larger fleet carriers and the Escorts were taken out of service. Northrop continued to develop the aircraft into the T38 series and later was selected for the MAP program by the Kennedy administration as the F5A/B.

    It didn't help that during the Vietnam war the F5C model being tested by the USAF for the South Vietnamese would out fly anything the Air Force had.

  • Good, maneuvereable, smooth flying, strong and resistent plane as her was. At a one of planes costs, very valuable plane. Used in many countries.

  • Chile has a fleet of f-5E upgraded with an elta radar, inflight refueling probe, Rafael phython 4 and derby misiles plus dash helmet mounted targeting system. Very capable fighter with those updates👌🏻💪💪

  • One of my all-time favourites. Achingly beautiful & successful. It must have been a blast to fly. There's one on static display at the old Clark base in Philippines.

  • This is a way better aircraft of its time during the Vietnam War …I don't know why we use junk like the f-105 and the f-4 phantom to fight against the Commies Red basterds

  • did it also was droping those orange crap, good job USA, perhaps one day your population could feel that crap on their one skin

  • 35 billion dollars for one f35, HA! for that money I can have a fleet of 350 operational f5s, with plenty of money for logistic support and parts. Ain't no plane in the world can withstand 350 to 1 odds. Plus the f5 can be fitted with Warsaw pact or NATO weapons, huge advantage in any theater of war. Even the cannons are a generic 20mm, any 20mm ammo will do. They can run on less than optimal fuel, and we all know the rest. My favorite part is how the f5 can go from cold stop to takeoff in about 2 minutes, any other fighter takes at least 10 minutes to power up and spin the turbines, cut external batteries, etc. and etc. By that time, all my planes are airborne and en route.
    And I would wager that a pilot and rio would be able to act as their own ground crew in a pinch an it wouldn't take much extra training for them. If the standard is 20 minutes to swap engine, then two guys should be able to do it in 45.

  • Great video! You should have put the Swiss patrol in it, they’re making great things with this plabe

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