Northrop F-5 Tiger II

    The Northrop F-5 was one of the most successful export products of the US aircraft industry. Although it did not have the performance of some of its more-costly contemporaries, it was reliable, easy to maintain, and relatively inexpensive. It served in relatively small numbers with the United States armed forces, first as a trial with the USAF in Vietnam and then later as an adversary aircraft with the USAF, Navy, and Marine Corps. It was widely exported, sometimes funded under the terms of the Military Assistance Program (MAP) and sometimes sold commercially under the terms of Foreign Military Sales (FMS). A total of 1871 F-5s were built by Northrop, and a further 776 were built under license in Canada, Spain, Switzerland, Korea, and Taiwan. The F-5 is still an important part of many foreign air forces.
     On April 25, 1962, the Department of Defense announced that it had chosen the N-156F for its Military Assistance Program (MAP). America's NATO and SEATO allies would now be able to acquire a supersonic warplane of world-class quality at a reasonable cost. The USAF was to act as the purchasing agency for the program and was put in charge of crew training. The planes were to carry USAF serial numbers for record-keeping purposes. On August 9, 1962, the Model N-156F was given the official designation of F-5A and was given the official name Freedom Fighter. At the same time, a two-seat combat trainer version was ordered under the designation F-5B. It looked a lot like the T-38A, but it was to retain the full combat capability of the F-5A.
      The F-5A is optimized for the air-to-ground role and has only a very limited air-to-air capability. In the interest of achieving low cost, the F-5A was not equipped with a fire-control radar, the weapons being aimed by a simple optical sight acting in conjunction with a small Emerson radar ranging set installed in the extreme nose.  The F-5A has very docile handling attributes. It is almost unspinnable, and exhibits little, if any, wing drop at the stall. By grouping the two J85 engines so closely together, Northrop has greatly reduced engine-out asymmetric effects.  Production of the F-5A by Northrop ended in June of 1972, after 636 examples had been manufactured.
See the F-5E display models at