National Museum of the USAF   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

Home > Fact Sheets > Northrop F-20


Posted 11/2/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
Previous ImageNext Image
Northrop F-20
Takeoff of Northrop F-20 (S/N 82-0062, the first F-20 built) in Northrop colors with an F-5F chase plane. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Download HiRes

Northrop developed the F-20 Tigershark as an improved version of the F-5E intended for foreign military sales (FMS). The aircraft first flew on Aug. 30, 1982, and compiled an impressive performance, reliability and weapons delivery record. During its flight test program, the F-20 fired the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile, 2.75-inch folding fin aerial rockets, dropped MK82 bombs, and fired rounds from a 30mm gun pod in addition to the two internal M-39 20mm cannon.

The F-20 was never considered for USAF service, and the U.S. Navy decided to buy F-16s for its aggressor aircraft program. These two facts essentially doomed the F-20 FMS program. Although the test program demonstrated the potential of the F-20, countries tended to buy the F-16, in part, because it was used by the USAF and USN while the F-20 was not.

Type Number built/
F-20 3 Development of the F-5E for export

Armament: Two M39 20mm cannon and provisions for up to 9,000 lbs. of external stores
Engine: One General Electric F404-GE-100 afterburning turbofan
Maximum speed: Mach 2+
Range: 1,880 nautical miles (maximum ferry range)
Service ceiling: Approx. 55,000 ft.
Span: 26 ft. 8 in.
Length: 47 ft. 4 in.
Height: 13 ft. 10 in.
Weight: 28,000 lbs. maximum takeoff 
Crew: One

Click here to return to the Fighter Aircraft index.

 Inside the Museum

ima cornerSearch

ima cornerAircraft


tabRelated Links

Museum Virtual TourMuseum Facebook PageMuseum Twitter PageMuseum Instagram
Museum Google Plus PageMuseum Pinterest PageMuseum YouTube ChannelMuseum Flickr Page
Museum PodcastsMuseum E-newsletter Sign-upMuseum RSS Feeds

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act