The Progress of RTAF’s F-5 Tiger II Capability Upgrade

04 Januari 2016

During the month of December 2015 it is reported the procurement in the Air Force, Army and Navy. In the Royal Thai Air Force included the progress of the project to improve the capability of F-5E/F Tiger II (designatin B.Kh18) of the 211 Squadron (Eagle), 21st Wing.

Is based on the image above which published in mid-December 2015,  that the F-5F with tail number 21104 from 211 Squadron 21st Wing has head look longer. The analysis that may have been installed new radar.

The shark nose of F-5E/F fighter aircraft which stationed in Royal Thai Air Force since 1981 or 35 years ago was upgraded up to three times.

First Capability Upgrade (1998)

In 1988, installed the display front and range weapons with HUD/WAC (Head-Up Display/Weapon Aiming Computer) from GEC Marconi, decoy system AN/ALE-40 and warning detection system AN/ALR-46 RWR (Radar Warning Receiver).

With the capability to use Israeli air-to-air guided missile Rafael Python-3, and the gun pod GPU-5 size 30mm, F-5E/F still stationed at the 403 Squadron 4th Air Division and then moved to 211 Squadron 21st Wing on the year 1994.

Second Capability Upgrade (2002)

In 2002, Israeli company Elbit improved the fighter aircraft F-5T Tigris and F-5E/F stationed in 211 Squadron 21st Wing, by turn of the cockpit mounted display with MFD (Multi-Function Display) pilot helmet mounted display, weapon sights DASH (Display And Sight Helmet) and joystick HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick).

Weapon system capability to use air-to-air guided missile Python-4, however improvement of fighter aircraft F-5E/F, do not even have to change radar model AN/APQ-159 with such as the AN/APG-69 that was originally planned.

Third Capability Upgrade (2015)

In 2015, which was the last time. Although the Air Force document identified improvement projects F-5E/F 10 of these limit 2,050 million baht would identify only  structural upgrade and avionic system.

Python-5 is powered by a solid propellant rocket engine, provides a speed of Mach 4 and an operational range of more than 20km. Derby is a BVR medium range, basically an enlarged Python-4 with an active-radar seeker with range about 50km (photo : Miltechmag)

From the multiple data sources stated that the Israeli company Elbit is the project contractor. There is a possibility that the F-5E/F 211 Squadron has been updated to install with an Israeli Elta EL/M-2032 radar including avionic systems and new weapons such as new generation air-to-air missile Python-5 and Derby also DASH IV pilot helmets, which makes the F-5E/F’s capacity in aerial combat outside visual range (BVR : Beyond Visual Range) for the first time.

This improvement of this F-5E/F would be the last because of the limited lifetime structural parts of machines and production lines. It makes life Squadron F-5E/F Royal Thai Air Force on average by almost 45-50 years, may extend the wait time up to 2026-2031.



F-5E Tiger II & F-5T-Tigris/Super Tigris of the Royal Thai Air Force: Details

RTAF F-5 E/F third upgrade

Israeli Elta EL/M-2032 radar


EL/M-2032 is an advanced pulse Doppler, multimode fire control radar intended for multi-mission fighter aircraft. It is suitable for air-to-air and air-to-surface modes. In the air-to-air mode the radar delivers long-range target detection and tracking capability. In the air-to-surface mode, the radar generates high resolution ground imagery using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology for smart weapons guidance. Air-to-Sea mode provides long-range detection and tracking as well as target identification capability.

EL/M-2032 air-to-air mode has a detection and tracking range of up to 150 km, the air-to-ground mode generates high resolution radar imagery of locations at up to 150 km, and air-to-sea mode can detect and classify naval targets at ranges of up to 300 km. The radar system weighs between 72 and 100 kg. To date, Elta Systems has integrated this radar system into F-4, F-5, F-16, Mirage and Mig-21. (

Jaguar DARIN-3 Upgrade Package's ELM-2032 MMR-2

DASH IV pilot helmets


post-2042-019927100 1286389385

Rafael’s Derby is a fully developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile. The missile offers excellent performance and maneuverability in both medium and short range engagements. The missile is also offered in an air defense configuration.
Main features:
  • Active radar seeker
  • Designed for both medium and short range
  • All weather performance
  • Look-down/Shoot-down capability
  • Lock On Before Launch (LOBL) mode for tight dogfights
  • Advanced programmable ECCM
  • Lightweight
  • Fully developed, tested and proven missile


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