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Posted 11/2/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
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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)
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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

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