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Northrop F-5E Tiger II

Lightweight tactical fighter

Northrop F-5E Tiger II

The Northrop F-5E Tiger II tactical fighter still remains an important warplane

Northrop F-5E Tiger III
Entered service ?
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 14.45 m
Wing span 8.13 m
Height 4.08 m
Weight (empty) 4.3 t
Weight (maximum take off) 11.1 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 2 x 15.57 / 22.24 kN
Maximum speed 1 700 km/h
Service ceiling 15.5 km
Combat radius 1 400 km
Cannon 20-mm M39A2 cannon
Missiles AIM-9P Sidewinder and Python 3/4, R550 Magic air-to-air missiles, AGM-65G Maverick air-to-surface missiles, AGM-45 Shrike anti-radar missiles
Bombs GBU-10/12 laser-guided bombs, Rockeye cluster bombs
Other cannon pods (Thailand)


   The first F-5A Freedom Fighter single-seat light-fighter prototype flew in May 1963 and went on to form the basis of a major warplane family. Canadair built the CF-5A/Ds and NF-5A/Bs for the Canadian and Dutch air force respectively; the survivors of these fleets are finding a ready resale market to countries including Botswana, Turkey and Venezuela. In addition, South Korea, Brazil, Greece, Iran, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen all currently operate first generation F-5s. Venezuela's VF-5A/Ds have received a limited upgrade by Singapore Technologies Aerospace.

   The improved F-5E/F Tiger II was developed from the F-5A/B as an International Fighter Aircraft for sale to US allies. The F-5E prototype first flew in August 1972 and was followed by some 1 300 production F-5Es and two-seat F-5Fs for sale to 20 air forces. The F-5E was also assembled under license in Taiwan and South Korea. Tiger IIs remain in widespread service with Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, US Marine Corps and US Navy and Yemen.

   Reconnaissance F-5E variants are operated by Malaysia (RF-5E Tigereye), Singapore (RF-5S) and Taiwan (RF-5E Tigergazer).

   Numerous update programmes are available to keep this important warplane viable until well into the 21st century. These upgrades offer a mix of new avionics and structural refurbishment of the airframe. Chile operates F-5Es upgraded with Israeli assistance to Tiger III standard; their advanced avionics - including Elta 2032 radar and hands on stick ant throttle controls - give a level of combat capability matching that of the F-16. The FIAR Grifo F/X Plus multimode radar has been fitted to Singaporean F-5S aircraft and has also been selected for Brazil's F-5Es. US-based TCA is offering to re-manufacture projected demand for cost-effective lead-in fighter trainers.

Video of the Northrop F-5E Tiger II lightweight tactical fighter

Additional Info
Northrop F-5E Tiger II

Northrop F-5E Tiger II

Northrop F-5E Tiger II