Argentina interested in F-5s as a stop-gap fighter

IHS Janes

16 May 2016

Argentina plans to negotiate with the US government the possible sale of a batch of Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs (likely between 12 to 14 planes), and a batch of Beech T-34C Turbo Mentors.

Angel Tello, the Argentine Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) secretary of strategy and military matters, will lead negotiations during a mid-May Washington visit.

The planes are intended as a stop-gap after the Argentine Air Force retired its Dassault Mirage fleet in November 2015, meaning the country currently has no supersonic fighters in service.

An MoD source told IHS Jane’s that the aim is to obtain some of the modernised planes currently used by the US Navy’s Fighter Composite Squadron (VFC) 111 ‘Sundowners’ as ‘aggressors’ at Naval Air Station Key West in Florida.


See related F-5E post:

F-5E Tiger II & F-5T-Tigris of the Royal Thai Air Force

Royal Thai Air Force F5 E/F second upgrade

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

F-5 Tiger II

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.

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.

Upgrade F-5E Glass cockpit Royal Thai Air Force F5-E  Royal Thai Air Force F5-E 
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)



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