NORTHROP F-5 FREEDOM FIGHTER

F-5 SERVICE

Manufacturer: Northrop Aircraft Inc., Hawthorne, California, USA
(In 1959, became Northrop Corp., Aircraft Group)
Model: N-156
Designations: F-5; F-20, X-29, CF-116 (CAF)
Names: Freedom Fighter (F-5A / B), Tiger II (F-5E / F);
Tigereye (RF-5E), Tigershark (F-20A)
First official flight: (N-156F) 30/07/1959
(YF-5A) 31/07/1963
Factory production period: 1958 - 1989
Primary service period: 1964 - 1990's
Last official flight: (F-5E) 03/1996

F-5 VARIANTS

1959 Model N-156F N-156F Prototype 2  
1963 Model N-156F YF-5A 2 Total: 0004
         
1963 Model N-156A F-5A 621  
1968 Model N-156C RF-5A 89  
1964 Model N-156B F-5B 180 Total: 0890
         
1972 Model N-156 F-5E 1150  
1982 Model N-156 RF-5E 12  
1974 Model N-156 F-5F 255 Total: 1417
         
1982 Model N-156 F-5G 3 Total: 0003

Grand Total: 2314

1968 Foreign built - Canada:
Model CL-219
CF-5A 89  
1968 Model CL-219 CF-5D 46  
1969 Model CL-226 NF-5A 75  
1969 Model CL-226 NF-5B 30 Total: 0240
1968 Foreign built - Spain:
Model: ?
SF-5A 19  
1968 Model: ? SRF-5A 17  
1968 Model: ? SF-5B 34 Total: 0070

Grand Total: 0310

GRAND TOTAL: 2624

F-5 PRODUCTION

Development began as the company funded Northrop Model N-156,
proposed in two versions as the N-156F (F-5 Freedom Fighter) and
N-156T (T-38 Talon).

N-156F
Prototype twin engined light tactical fighter
designed for foreign military sales.
Both later upgraded to F-5A standard.
Produced 1958 - 1959

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

59-4987, 59-4988 N-6001, 6002 2 Total: 0002

YF-5A
As N-156F, structural improvements
for weapons carriage, engine upgrade.
Later upgraded to F-5A standard.
59-4993 was static test airframe only
designated as XF-5A.
Produced 1962 - 1963

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

59-4989, 59-4993 N-6003, 6000 2 Total: 0002

F-5A
As YF-5A, minor changes.
Produced 1962 - 1972

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

63-8367 / 63-8370
- 4 to F-5B, new
s/n: 65-13071 / 65-13074,
new c/n: N-6004B / 6007B.
N-6004 / 6007    
63-8371 / 63-8437 N-6008 / 6074    
64-13306 / 64-13376 mixed N-6075 to 7009    
65-10476 / 65-10581 mixed N-6137 to 7029    
66-9119 / 66-9229 mixed N-6223 to 7052    
66-14457 / 66-14466 N-6311 / 6320    
67-14894 / 67-14905 N-7057 / 7068    
67-21153 / 67-21218 mixed N-6344 to 7056    
67-21236 / 67-21258 mixed N-6321 to 6343    
67-22548 / 67-22555 mixed N-6406 to 6417    
68-9043 / 68-9085 mixed N-6409 to 6456    
69-7091 / 69-7134 mixed N-6457 to 7078    
69-7174 / 69-7177 N-6491 / 6494    
70-1373 / 70-1407 N-6495 / 6529    
71-0260 / 71-0276 N-6530 / 6546 621 Total: 0621
18 to USAF.
13 to Ethiopia.
42 to Greece.
104 to Iran.
8 to Libya.
20 to Morocco.
78 to Norway as F-5A(G).
19 to The Philippines.
87 to South Korea.
35 to South Vietnam.
101 to Taiwan, 7 as 1201 / 1207.
21 to Thailand.
75 to Turkey.
181 additional airframes cancelled.

RF-5A
As F-5A, photo reconn. version,
camera in modified nose section.
Produced

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

67-21219 / 67-21231 RF-1001 / 1013    
68-9097 / 68-9099 RF-1014 / 1016    
68-9100 / 68-9113 RFG-1001 / 1014    
68-10489, 68-10490 RFG-1015, 1016    
69-7137 / 69-7173 RF-1017 / 1053    
70-1614 / 70-1622 RF-1054 / 1062    
71-0277 / 71-0279 RF-1063 / 1065    
71-1029 / 71-1032 RF-1066 / 1069    
71-1035 / 71-1038 RF-1070 / 1073 89 Total: 0089
16 to Greece.
13 to Iran.
2 to Morocco.
16 to Norway as RF-5A(G).
8 to South Korea.
10 to South Vietnam.
4 to Thailand.
20 to Turkey.
23 additional airframes cancelled.


RF-5A-45-NO, s/n: 69-7147, with Turkish s/n: 5-147.
Turkey operated 20 new and 22 second-hand RF-5A reconn.
Freedom Fighters from 1970 up to 2000. Note the "chiseled"
nose which distinguished the RF-5A from the standard
F-5 Freedom Fighter.
Turkish Air Force Museum, Istanbul, Turkey, 2005.

F-5B
As F-5A, tandem 2-seater trainer version.
4 also upgraded from F-5A.
Produced 1963 - 1975

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

63-8438 / 63-8451 N-8001 / 8014    
63-13692 N-8015    
64-13377 / 64-13388 mixed N-8016 to 9002    
65-10582 / 65-10595 mixed N-8026 to 9004    
66-9230 / 66-9244 mixed N-8038 to 9008    
67-14906 / 67-14909 N-9009 / 9012    
67-21272 / 67-21284 N-8049 / 8061    
67-22556, 67-22557 N-8062, 8063    
68-9086 / 68-9096 N-8064 / 8074    
69-7089, 69-7090 N-8075, 8076    
69-7135, 69-7136 N-9013, 9014    
70-1408 N-8077    
70-1608 / 70-1613 N-8078 / 8083    
70-1948 N-8084    
71-1033, 71-1034 ?    
72-0436 / 72-0449 N-8087 / 8100    
72-1337 / 72-1356 N-8101 / 8120    
73-1602 / 73-1613 N-8121 / 8132    
74-0775 / 74-0786 N-8133 / 8144    
74-1576 / 74-1581 X-1001 / 1006    
74-2114 / 74-2129 ? 180 Total: 0180
23 to USAF.
6 to Brazil as 4800 / 4805.
2 to Ethiopia.
8 to Greece.
24 to Iran.
5 to Jordan.
2 to Libya.
2 to Malaysia as FM2201, FM2202.
14 to Norway.
1 to The Philippines.
20 to Saudi Arabia.
34 to South Korea.
6 to South Vietnam.
12 to Taiwan.
5 to Thailand.
16 to Turkey.
44 additional airframes cancelled.

F-5D - Proposed F-5B version for USAF, cancelled.

F-5E
As F-5A, fuselage / engine / avionics
armament upgrade.
Produced 1971 - 1989

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

71-1417 / 71-1421 R-1001 / 1005    
72-1386 / 72-1406 R-1006 / 1026    
73-0846 / 73-0888 R-1027 / 1069    
73-0890 R-1070    
73-0892 / 73-0902 R-1071 / 1081    
73-0903 / 73-0932 T-1001 / 1030    
73-0933 / 73-0990 U-1001 / 1058    
73-1626 / 73-1646 R-1082 / 1102    
74-0958 / 74-0997 V-1001 / 1040    
74-1362 / 74-1444 U-1059 / 1141    
74-1445 / 74-1575 R-1103 / 1233    
74-1582 / 74-1617 Y-1001 / 1036    
75-0314 / 75-0373 V-1041 / 1100    
75-0442 / 75-0456 I-1001 / 1015    
75-0457 / 75-0461 R-1234 / 1238    
75-0462 / 75-0490 T-1031 / 1059    
75-0491 / 75-0527 R-1239 / 1275    
75-0562 / 75-0572 T-1060 / 1070    
75-0573 / 75-0627 mixed R-1276 to 1332    
76-0471 / 76-0490 V-1101 / 1120    
76-1526 / 76-1591 L-1001 / 1066    
76-1616 / 76-1639 V-1121 / 1144    
76-1643 / 76-1676 R-1317 / 1350    
76-1677 / 76-1686 I-1016 / 1025    
77-0328 / 77-0335 V-1145 / 1152    
77-0366 / 77-0379 HA-1001 / 1014    
77-1767 / 77-1770 mixed HA-1015 to 1018    
77-1771 / 77-1777 mixed R-1365 to 1373    
78-0028 / 78-0037 V-1153 / 1162    
78-0770 / 78-0773 mixed R-1371 to 1375    
78-0789 / 78-0798 R-1376 / 1385    
78-0814 / 78-0821 IE-1001 / 1008    
78-0826 / 78-0829 IE-1009 / 1012    
78-0865 / 78-0875 VE-1015 / 1025    
78-2447 R-1390    
79-1681 / 79-1687 TU-1001 / 1007    
79-1688 / 79-1691 R-1386 / 1389    
79-1694 / 79-1697 TU-1008 / 1011    
79-1698 / 79-1701 R-1391 / 1394    
79-1702 / 79-1707 TU-1012 / 1017    
79-1717 / 79-1720 VG-1001 / 1004    
79-1920 / 79-1925 ME-1011 / 1016    
79-1926 / 79-1931 HA-1019 / 1024    
79-1932 / 79-1941 ME-1001 / 1010    
80-0299 / 80-0319 VG-1005 / 1025    
81-0558 / 81-0593 ?    
81-0614 / 81-0625 ?    
81-0632 / 81-0638 ?    
81-0823 / 81-0857 ?    
82-0634 / 82-0639 ?    
82-0644, 82-0645 ?    
83-0083 / 83-0112 ?    
84-0183, 84-0184 ?    
84-0490, 84-0491 ?    
85-0043, 85-0044 ?    
85-0057, 85-0058 ?    
85-1586 / 85-1595 ?    
86-0405 / 86-0409 ? 1150 Total: 1150
49 to USAF.
31 to US Navy, 11 as BuNo. 159878 / 159882,
160792 / 160796, 162307.
8 to Bahrain as 645, 681 / 684, 686 / 688.
52 to Brazil, 36 as 4820 / 4855.
15 to Chile as J-800 / J-814.
8 to Ethiopia as 417 / 424.
12 to Indonesia as TS-0501 / TS-0512.
171 to Iran.
61 to Jordan as 902 / 941, 1145 / 1165.
10 to Kenya as 901 / 910.
17 to Malaysia as FM2203 / FM2217, M29-21, M29-22.
10 to Mexico as 4001 / 4010.
26 to Morocco.
12 to North Yemen.
40 to Saudi Arabia.
35 to Singapore, 14 mixed-801 / 820, 821 / 824, 830 / 841, 870 / 874.
161 to South Korea.
58 to South Vietnam.
2 to the Sudan as 206, 208.
98 to Switzerland as J-3001 / J-3098.
226 to Taiwan as 5101 / 5244, 5253 / 5298, 5313 / 5342, 5378 / 5383.
35 to Thailand.
13 to Tunisia, 8 as Y-92501, 03, 05, 07, 09, 11, 13, 15.
40 additional airframes cancelled.


Malaysian Air Force F-5E Tiger II, s/n: M29-12, was originally
built with US s/n: 74-1457 and flew in the Vietnam War.

RMAF Museum, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2011.

RF-5E Tigereye
As F-5E, photo reconn. version,
camera in modified nose section.
Produced 1982 - 1983

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

80-0333, 80-0334
- 2 to Malaysia as
M29-19, M29-20.
RA-1001, 1002    
84-0194 / 84-0203
- 10 to Saudi Arabia.
? 12 Total: 0012

F-5F
As F-5E, tandem 2-seater trainer version.
Produced 1974 - 1986

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

73-0889, 73-0891 W-1001, 1002    
75-0681 / 75-0708 Z-1001 / 1028    
75-0709 / 75-0711 J-1001 / 1003    
75-0712 / 75-0731 H-1001 / 1020    
75-0735 / 75-0742 mixed W-1008 to 1013    
75-0753 / 75-0755 mixed W-1006 to 1012    
76-1592 / 76-1597 M-1001 / 1006    
76-1611 / 76-1613 W-1014 / 1016    
76-1614, 76-1615 J-1004, 1005    
76-1640 / 76-1642 K-1001 / 1003    
77-0336 / 77-0350 K-1004 / 1018    
77-0359 / 77-0361 HC-1001 / 1003    
77-0362 / 77-0365 H-1021 / 1024    
77-1778, 77-1779 W-1019, 1020    
78-0774 / 78-0787 W-1021 / 1034    
78-0802, 78-0803 W-1035, 1036    
78-0822 / 78-0825 IF-1001 / 1004    
78-0876 / 78-0884 VF-1001 / 1009    
78-2435, 78-2436 W-1017, 1018    
78-2444 / 78-2446 W-1037 / 1039    
79-1692, 79-1693 TV-1001, 1002    
79-1708, 79-1709 TV-1003, W-1041    
79-1721 / 79-1726 VH-1001 / 1006    
79-1916 / 79-1919 mixed W-1040 to 1044    
79-1942 / 79-1945 MF-1001 / 1004    
80-0296 / 80-0298 VH-1007 / 1009    
81-0006 / 81-0019 ?    
81-0594 / 81-0613 ?    
81-0639 / 81-0642 ?    
81-0858 / 81-0863 ?    
82-0004, 82-0005 ?    
82-0089 / 82-0091 ?    
82-0187 / 82-0189 ?    
82-0640 / 82-0643 ?    
83-0072 / 83-0074 ?    
83-0113 / 83-0142 ?    
84-0456, 84-0457 ?    
85-0053 / 85-0056 ?    
86-0090, 86-0091 ?    
86-0388 ? 255 Total: 0255
12 to USAF.
4 to US Navy, 3 as BuNo. 160964 / 160966.
4 to Bahrain as 641 / 644.
3 to Brazil as 4806, 4807, 4809.
3 to Chile as J-815 / J-817.
4 to Indonesia as TS-0513 / TS-0516.
28 to Iran.
12 to Jordan, 2 as 1751, 1752.
4 to Kenya as 911 / 914.
4 to Malaysia as FM2251 / FM2254.
2 to Mexico as 4501, 4502.
4 to Morocco.
24 to Saudi Arabia.
9 to Singapore as 850 / 855, 860 / 862.
40 to South Korea.
2 to the Sudan as 200, 201.
12 to Switzerland as J-3201 / J-3212.
74 to Taiwan as 5299 / 5312, 5351 / 5377, 5384 / 5416.
6 to Thailand, 3 as 40301 / 40303.
4 to Tunisia as Y-92502, 04, 06, 08.
5 additional airframes cancelled.



Two very rare photos taken by the author of a TUDM
F-5F at an "aircraft graveyard" in Kuala Lumpur.
Northrop F-5F Tiger II, s/n: 78-2444, was sold to Malaysia as FM2251,
then in 1982, it became M29-15. It was written-off on 21/10/1986.
RMAF Museum, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2003.

F-5G
As F-5E, fuselage / engine / avionics
armament upgrade. All carried civil reg.
as N4416T, N3986B and N44671.
Later redesignated as F-20A Tigershark.
Produced 1981 - 1982

Northrop Hawthorne, California (NO)

82-0062 / 82-0064 ? 3 Total: 0003
1 additional airframe cancelled.

 

Grand Total: 2314

Foreign built - Canada:
CF-5A
Canadian version of the F-5A,
engine upgrade, minor changes.
CAF designation: CF-116, pre-1968
RCAF s/n: 14701 / 14789.
Convertible reconn. version was CF-5A(R).
Produced 1967 - 1974

Canadair Ltd., Cartierville, Montreal,
Quebec, Canada

(CAF) 116701 / 116789 1001 / 1089 89  

CF-5D
Canadian version of the F-5B,
engine upgrade, minor changes.
CAF designation: CF-116D, pre-1968
RCAF s/n: 14801 / 14846.
Produced 1967 - 1975

Canadair Ltd., Cartierville, Montreal,
Quebec, Canada

(CAF) 116801 / 116846 2001 / 2046 46  

NF-5A
The Netherlands version of the F-5A,
engine upgrade, minor changes.
Produced 1968 - 1972

Canadair Ltd., Cartierville, Montreal,
Quebec, Canada

(Dutch) K-3001 / K-3075 ? 75  


Canadair built NF-5A, s/n: K-3022, was originally delivered to
The Netherlands in the late 1960's. It was one of 46 such NF-5A's
later sold to Turkey in 1989, this one was part of the famed
"Turkish Stars" Aerobatic Team. The NF-5A's were
all retired in 1998.
Turkish Air Force Museum, Istanbul, Turkey, 2005.

NF-5B
The Netherlands version of the F-5B,
engine upgrade, minor changes.
Produced 1968 - 1972

Canadair Ltd., Cartierville, Montreal,
Quebec, Canada

(Dutch) K-4001 / K-4030 ? 30 Total: 0240

Foreign built - Spain:
SF-5A
Spanish version of the F-5A designated
as C.9, later A.9 for attack.
Produced 1967 - 1971

Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA),
Madrid & Seville, Spain

(Spain) C.9-035 / C.9-053 ? 19  

SRF-5A
Spanish version of the RF-5A designated
as CR.9, later AR.9 for attack.
Produced

Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA),
Madrid & Seville, Spain

(Spain) CR.9-054 / CR.9-070 ? 17  

SF-5B
Spanish version of the F-5B designated
as CE.9, later AE.9 for attack.
Produced

Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA),
Madrid & Seville, Spain

(Spain) CE.9-001 / CE.9-034 ? 34 Total: 0070

 

Grand Total: 0310

F-5 CONVERSIONS

USAF

NF-5A 1 F-5A, permanent conversion for testing as N6004 (civil reg.).
GF-5B 4 F-5B, ground instructional conversions.
YF-5B-21 1 F-5B(63-8445), 1969, prototype with engine upgrade, developed
into the F-5E Tiger II.
F-5C 12 F-5A, 1965, temporary designation for USAF tests in Vietnam under
the "Skoshi Tiger" evaluation program. Production orders cancelled.
X-29A 2 F-5A(63-8372, 65-10573), 1984-1991, components used to build two
prototypes with forward-swept wings and other aerodynamic features.
Built by Grumman Aerospace Corp. as Model G-712, tested by NASA.
New s/n: 82-0003, 82-0049.

US Navy

F-5N

32

Swiss F-5E, 2004-present, re-manufactured airframes, avionics upgrade
as aggressor aircraft in combat training. Retained former USAF s/n's.
Conversions by Northrop-Grumman Corp., Florida.

Foreign Conversions

F-5S 34 F-5E, 1994, life-extension upgrades for Singapore. 8 reconnaissance
upgrades designated as RF-5S.
Upgrades by Singapore Technologies Aerospace (STAe), Singapore.
F-5T 9 F-5F, 1994, life-extension upgrades for Singapore.
Upgrades by Singapore Technologies Aerospace (STAe), Singapore.

FOREIGN MILITARY SERVICE
 - F-5 aircraft in military service with the air forces of Austria, Bahrain, Botswana,
   Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, Greece, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan,
   Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, The Netherlands, North Yemen,
   Norway, Pakistan, The Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea,
   South Vietnam, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia,
   Turkey and Venezuela.
 - F-5 aircraft still a major component with many air forces worldwide, some
   upgrades available are the (EADS-CASA) F-5EM / FM, (IAI) F-5Plus Tiger III,
   (Northrop-Grumman) F-5E Tiger IV and F-5 Tiger 2000.

Home - US Warplanes