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 that have adopted the F-5. A two-place combat trainer version, the F-5B, first flew in February 1964. In 1966-1967, a USAF squadron of F-5s flew combat missions in Southeast Asia for operational evaluation purposes.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force has a YF-5A on display.
Photo-recon A model
Improved A model
Photo-recon E model
Norwegian A model
Photo-recon G model; from RF-5A
* = not used by USAF
- CF-5A and B were built in Canada for the Canadian Air Force.
- NF-5A and B were Royal Netherlands Air Force aircraft.
- SF-5A and B (C-9/CE-9) were CASA built aircraft for the Spanish Air Force.
- The RF-5E photo-reconnaissance variant was known as the "Tiger Eye."
- The F-5G was the Royal Norwegian Air Force variant of the F-5A known as the "Tiger Shark."
- The RF-5G was the Royal Norwegian Air Force variant of the RF-5A.
TECHNICAL NOTES (F-5A): Armament: Two 20mm cannons, rockets, missiles and 5,500 lbs. of bombs externally Engines: Two General Electric J85s of 4,080 lbs. thrust each with afterburner Maximum speed: 925 mph Cruising speed: 575 mph Range: 1,100 miles Service ceiling: 50,700 ft. Span: 25 ft. 10 in. Length: 47 ft. 2 in. Height: 13 ft. 6 in. Weight: 20,576 lbs. loaded