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Home > Fact Sheets > Northrop YF-5A Freedom Fighter


Posted 3/3/2015 Printable Fact Sheet
DAYTON, Ohio -- Northrop YF-5A in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The F-5 was a supersonic fighter that combined low cost, ease of maintenance and great versatility. The U.S. Air Force procured more than 2,000 of these aircraft for use by allied nations. The F-5, which closely resembled the USAF Northrop T-38 trainer, was suitable for various types of ground-support and aerial intercept missions, including those conducted from unpaved fields in combat areas.

The F-5 first flew in July 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 adopted the F-5. A two-place combat trainer version, the F-5B, first flew in February 1964.

The YF-5A on display, one of three prototypes ordered, was delivered to the museum in 1970. It is painted as a "Shoski Tiger" of the 4503rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, which combat tested the F-5 in Vietnam in 1965-1967. The 4503rd TFS later was redesignated the 10th Fighter (Commando) Squadron in March 1966. In October 1966 the 10th F(C)S began training South Vietnamese pilots to fly F-5s and later turned its aircraft over to the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) in June 1967.

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
Ceiling: 50,700 ft.
Span: 25 ft. 10 in.
Length: 47 ft. 2 in.
Height: 13 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 20,576 lbs. loaded
Serial number: 59-4989 

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