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

The F-5 Tiger II, a single-seat twin-engined supersonic fighter aircraft, was developed by Northrop Grumman, US. The aircraft took its maiden flight on 11 August 1972 and entered into service in 1975. It is the upgraded version of the F-5A Freedom fighter aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman in early 1959.

Northrop F-5Northrop F-5E (S/N 72-01401) of the 425th TFTS, 58th TFTW, Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., in March 1974. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The production of F-5A-21 began in 1970 by Northrop Grumman and at the same time the aircraft was renamed ‘F-5E Tiger II’. The avionics of the F-5E Tiger II are more sophisticated compared to the earlier version F-5A aircraft. It rolled out from production in 1987 and since then has undergone various upgrades to compete with changing combat environments.

The ”’Northrop F-5A and F-5B Freedom Fighter”’ and the ”’F-5E and F-5F Tiger II”’ are part of a supersonic+ light fighter+ family, initially designed in the late 1950s by Northrop Corporation+. Being smaller and simpler than contemporaries such as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II+, the F-5 cost less to both procure and operate, making it a popular export aircraft. The F-5 started life as a privately funded light fighter program by Northrop in the 1950s. The design team wrapped a small, highly aerodynamic fighter around two compact and high-thrust General Electric J85+ engines, focusing on performance and low cost of maintenance. Though primarily designed for the day air superiority role, the aircraft is also a capable ground-attack platform. The F-5A entered service in the early 1960s. During the Cold War+, over 800 were produced through 1972 for U.S. allies. Though the USAF had no acknowledged need for a light fighter, it did procure roughly 1,200 Northrop T-38 Talon+ trainer aircraft, which were directly based on the F-5A. Source @datab.us

The aircraft costs are low and can be easily maintained compared to the F-15 and F-16 aircraft. It was used in the Cold War by the US Air Force (USAF) for training and war purposes. The aircraft can accommodate a single pilot.


The advanced aircraft features a single-seat cockpit equipped with number of electronic systems, namely automatic flight control systems (AFCS), head-up display (HUD) and other auxiliary equipment.

F-5E Tiger II cockpit 

F-5E Tiger II armaments

The F-5E Tiger II is armed with two 20mm pontiac M39A2 cannons on either side of the nose. The M39A2 is a single-barrelled automatic cannon and can fire munitions at the rate of 1,500rpm. The aircraft features seven hard-points – two under the wing tip, four under the two wings, and one under the fuselage pylon station.

M39A2 cannon

f59c7b544fac11e7f381f5cb8f3556c720mm pontiac M39A2 cannon

The M39 was developed by the Springfield Armory, based on the World War II–era design of the German Mauser Mauser MG 213, a 20 mm (and 30 mm) cannon developed for the Luftwaffe, which did not see combat use. The same design inspired the British ADEN cannon and the French DEFA 550, but American designers chose a smaller 20 mm round to increase the weapon’s rate of fire and muzzle velocity at the expense of hitting power. The M39 -originally known as the T160 – was tested on modified F-86Fs in Korea.



Initial model.


The M39A2 was introduced in 1964 and selected for the F-5E Tiger II.


In the M39A3, a five-chamber cylinder revolved about an axis parallel to the single gun bore. The weapon was gas-operated and fired from the six-o’clock position at a rate of 1,500 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 3,300 feet per second. Source @wiki.scramble.nl

F5E_70123_701SQ7WG_050108File photo of Royal Thai Air Force F-5Elgm_971149

Four AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and two AGM-65 Mavericks air-to-surface missiles as well as rockets are mounted on the seven hard points. The aircraft is also armed with unguided iron bombs, CBU-24/49/52/58 cluster bomb munitions, napalm bomb canisters and M129 leaflet bombs.

AIM-9 Sidewinder


The AIM-9B used a fragmentation warhead triggered by a passive infrared proximity fuse. The Thiokol Mk.17 solid propellant rocket delivered 8,200 lb-sec of impulse with a burn duration of 2.2 seconds.

While by modern standards the AIM-9B is a very limited weapon, it had no serious competitors in its day and was soon adopted by the USAF and NATO as a standard weapon, with no less than 40,000 guidance units built by Ford Aerospace, the prime contractor. The RAAF also adopted the missile, fitting it to the CAC Avon-Sabre, and subsequently the Mirage.

 NATO rounds were mainly built by West Germany’s FGW, who evolved an improved subtype designated the AIM-9B-FGW Mod.2. This AIM-9B used solid state electronics, carbon dioxide seeker cooling, a new nose dome and better optical filtering, the latter providing for much better seeker sensitivity. Source @ausairpower.net

Later AIM-9 versions

The missile’s main components are an infrared homing guidance section, an active optical target detector, a high-explosive warhead, and a rocket motor.

The infrared guidance head enables the missile to home on target aircraft engine exhaust. An infrared unit costs less than other types of guidance systems, and can be used in day/night and electronic countermeasures conditions. The infrared seeker also permits the pilot to launch the missile, then leave the area or take evasive action while the missile guides itself to the target.

Primary Function Air-to-air missile
Contractor Naval Weapons Center
Power Plant Hercules and Bermite Mk 36 Mod 71, 8 solid-propellant rocket motor
Thrust Classified
Speed Supersonic Mach 2.5
Range 10 to 18 miles depending on altitude
Length 9 feet, 5 inches (2.87 meters)
Diameter 5 inches (0.13 meters)
Finspan 2 feet, 3/4 inches (0.63 meters)
Warhead Annular blast fragmentation warhead
25 lbs high explosive for AIM-9H
20.8 lbs high explosive for AIM-9L/M
Launch Weight 190 pounds (85.5 kilograms)
Guidance System Solid-state, infrared homing system
Introduction Date 1956

Source @fas.org

GM-65 Mavericks air-to-surface missile

The AGM-65 Maverick is a tactical, air-to-surface guided missile designed for close air support, interdiction and defense suppression mission. It provides stand-off capability and high probability of strike against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, transportation equipment and fuel storage facilities.

The Maverick variants include electro-optical/television (A and B), imaging infrared (D, F, and G), or laser guidance (E). The Air Force developed the Maverick, and the Navy procured the imaging infrared and the laser guided versions. The AGM-65 has two types of warheads, one with a contact fuse in the nose, the other a heavyweight warhead with a delayed fuse, which penetrates the target with its kinetic energy before firing. The latter is very effective against large, hard targets. The propulsion system for both types is a solid-rocket motor behind the warhead. Source @fas.org

CBU-24/49/52/58 cluster bomb munitions

Regardless of its type or purpose, dropped ordnance is dispensed or dropped from an aircraft. Dropped ordnance is divided into three subgroups: bombs; dispensers, which contain submunitions; and submunitions.


Dispensers may be classified as another type of dropped ordnance. Like bombs, they are carried by aircraft. Their payload, however, is smaller ordnance called submunitions. Dispensers come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the payload inside. Some dispensers are reusable, and some are one-time-use items.

Dropped dispensers fall away from the aircraft and are stabilized in flight by fin assemblies. Dropped dispensers may be in one piece or in multiple pieces. All dropped dispensers use either mechanical time or proximity fuzing. These fuzes allow the payload to be dispersed at a predetermined height above the target. Multiple-piece dispensers open up and disperse their payload when the fuze functions. Single-piece dispensers eject their payload out of ports or holes in the body when the fuze functions.


Submunitions are classified as either bomblets, grenades, or mines. They are small explosive-filled or chemical-filled items designed for saturation coverage of a large area. They may be antipersonnel (APERS), antimateriel (AMAT), antitank (AT), dual-purpose (DP), incendiary, or chemical. Submunitions may be spread by dispensers, missiles, rockets, or projectiles. Each of these delivery systems disperses its payload of submunitions while still in flight, and the submunitions drop over the target. On the battlefield, submunitions are widely used in both offensive and defensive missions.

Submunitions are used to destroy an enemy in place (impact) or to slow or prevent enemy movement away from or through an area (area denial). Impact submunitions go off when they hit the ground. Area-denial submunitions, including FASCAM, have a limited active life and self-destruct after their active life has expired. The major difference between scatterable mines and placed mines is that the scatterable mines land on the surface and can be seen. Placed mines may be hidden or buried under the ground and usually cannot be seen. Source @fas.org

Brazilian F-5E with AIM 9B sidewinder & Python 3 missiles 

Napalm bomb canisters

The containers of napalm bomber are very light and fabricated of aluminum, with a capacity for about 75 gallons of combustible gel. They lack stabilizing fins, and consequently acquire a tumbling motion on being dropped that contributes to the scattering of the combustible gel over a wide area.

Napalm is a mixture of benzene (21%), gasoline (33%), and polystyrene (46%). Benzene is a normal component of gasoline (about 2%). The gasoline used in napalm is the same leaded or unleaded gas that is used in automobiles. Source @fas.org

M129E1/E2 Leaflet Bomb

The M129 is capable of holding approximately 60,000 to 80,000 leaflets and is dropped from fixed wing aircraft including B-52s, F-16s, F-18s and A-6s. The bombs explode at a lower altitude through the use of a timer allowing the rolled leaflets to be released and scattered. Source @psywarrior.com


Tiger aircraft avionics

The avionics equipped in the aircraft include an inertial navigation system (INS), tactical air navigation (TACN) system, global positioning system (GPS), electronic counter measures (ECM), and hand on throttle and stick (HOTAS) system.

F-5 Tiger II radar

The F-5 Tiger II was initially equipped with an AN/APQ-153 radar. In all the upgraded variants produced later, the Emerson AN/APQ-159 radar was installed. The aircraft comprises an air-to-air fire control radar system and a lead computing gunsight.

  • Emerson Electric AN/APQ-153 radar on early batch of F-5E
  • Emerson Electric AN/APQ-159 radar on later production F-5E
  • AN/AVQ-27 Laser Target Designator Set (LTDS), for F-5B and F-5F only.

Data @gutenberg.us

AN/APQ-153 radar

ROKAF F-5E APQ-153 Rader @wikimedia.org

The AN/APQ-159 has replaced the AN/APQ-153 radar. The AN/APQ-159 is an air-to-air radar system, which operates in four primary modes and two search modes with various ranges.

AN/APQ-159 air-to-air radar system

APQ-159 Antenna AS-4066 @duotechservices.com

The APQ-159 is the radar of the F-5 Freedom Fighter and F-5 Tiger II. Designed to replace the APQ-153, F-5’s original radar, this upgrade doubled the range and greatly increased the reliability of the F-5’s radar system. Created purely as an air-to-air radar system, the APQ-159 has two search modes using B-scope display and C-scope foresight gunnery display with ranging. It’s also equipped with automatic lock-on for a dogfight mode and can help guide the pilot onto target when firing the AIM-9 Sidewinder.

  • Antenna AS-4066
  • Signal Data Converter CV-3397
  • Radar Set Control C-10132
  • Radar Processor MX-9816
  • Radar Receiver-transmitter RT-1221
  • Video Indicator IP-1261
  • Data Display Indicator IP-1278
  • Radar Power Supply Coupler CU-2204

Radar info @duotechservices.com

ROCAF f5e 5280

Turbojet engines

The aircraft is powered by two General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines. Each engine can produce a thrust after burner of 22.2kN. The engine is principally used in commercial and military models for training and tactical purposes. It provides a maximum thrust-to-weight ratio compared to any other aircraft engine in the world.


13-3d2 x General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines


  • Data for J85-GE-21
  • Compressor Stages: 9-stage axial flow with variable inlet guide vanes
  • Combustion Chamber: Annular type with perforated liner, 12 duplex fuel injectors
  • Turbine Stages: 2-stage axial flow
  • Afterburner: Pilot burner with four spraybars and main burner with 12 spraybars
  • Max Diameter: 0,533 m (21.0 inch)
  • Length: 2,858 m (112.5 inch)
  • Dry Weight: 310 kg (684 lb)
  • Pressure ratio:  : 1
  • Mass flow: 45 lb/sec
  • Thrust to weight ratio 7-8 : 1
14-3d2 x General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines

Improved version with higher airflow. Fitted to Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II. Rated at 15.6 kN (3,500 lb) dry and 22.2 kN (5,000 lb) augmented thrust. Maximum diameter increased to 26.1 inch (compared to 21 inch in the J85-GE-5). Interestingly, without using it’s afterburner, this engine produces 85% of earlier -13 model’s thrust in full afterburner. Data @wiki.scramble.nl

The engine is currently serving 35 countries worldwide.

Main material source @airforce-technology.com

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.


Data from Quest for Performance

General characteristics


Armament (includes upgraded F-5E)

Chilian F-5E III @wikimedia.org


The AMRAAM is housed in a light-weight structure of steel and titanium. The airframe is divided into four major sections: guidance, warhead, propulsion and control. The four wings and fins are detachable. The guidance section features an active X-band radar terminal seeker using a highpower solid-state transmitter with a low-sidelobe, wide-gimbal antenna, and a built-in radio-frequency processor. Navigation, autopilot, radar, datalink, fuzing, sequencing, and self-test functions are allhandled by a single 30MHz microprocessor. The propulsion section consists of an advanced solid-fuel rocket motor to achieve a speed of Mach 4 and a range in excess of 30 miles.


Primary Function: Air-to-air tactical missile
Contractor: Hughes Aircraft Co. and Raytheon Co.
Power Plant: High performance
Length: 143.9 inches (366cm)
Launch Weight: 335 pounds (150.75kg)
Diameter: 7 inches (17.78cm)
Wingspan: 20.7 inches (52.58cm)
Range: 30+ miles (48+ km)
Speed: Mach 4 capable
Guidance System: Active radar terminal/inertial midcourse
Warhead: 40 lbs, Blast fragmentation

Data @f-16.net

Guided Bomb Paveway II

According to Military Today data F-5E Tiger III 

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)

Data F-5E Tiger III @military-today.com

AIM-9P Sidewinder

The AIM-9P, an improved version of the J model, has greater engagement boundaries, enabling it to be launched farther from the target. The more maneuverable P model also incorporated improved solid-state electronics that increased reliability and maintainability. Deliveries began in 1978.

The AIM-9P-1 has an active optical target detector instead of the infrared influence fuze; the AIM-9P-2 added a reduced-smoke motor. The most recently developed version, the AIM-9P-3, combined both the active optical target detector and the reduced-smoke motor. It also has added mechanical strengthening to the warhead as well as the guidance and control section. The improved warhead uses new explosive material that is less sensitive to high temperature and has a longer shelf life.

The AIM-9M, currently the only operational variant, has the all-aspect capability of the L model, but provides all-around higher performance. The M model has improved defense against infrared countermeasures, enhanced background discrimination capability, and a reduced-smoke rocket motor. These modifications increase ability to locate and lock-on a target and decrease the missile’s chances for detection. Deliveries of the M model began in 1983. Source @fas.org

R550 Magic air-to-air missilesuntitled_181_jpgeecf1cff-500b-4f18-9873-dc9b4af0c7a6Original

The R550 Magic is a short-range air to air missile (AAM) designed in 1968 by French company Matra to compete with the American AIM-9 Sidewinder. Mass-produced from 1976, the Magic was adopted by the French Air Force and the Navy. The Magic is still carried by the Super Etendard, the Mirage 2000 and the Dassault Rafale. It is gradually being replaced by the MBDA MICA.

Dimensions and Performance



Body Diameter


Wing/Fin span


Launch Weight





Mach 3.0


up to 18,000m



Solid propellant


Romeo Butalene motor (Magic 1), SNPE Richard motor (Magic 2)


12.5kg HE conventional rod


IR seeker

Data @onwar.com

AGM-45 Shrike anti-radar missiles

The AGM-45 SHRIKE series weapon system is a passive air-to-ground missile whose mission is to home on and destroy or suppress radiating radar transmitters, directing both ground antiaircraft fire and surface-to-air missiles. The system consists of an AGM-45 guided missile, AERO-5A/B or LAU-118 launcher, and a launch aircraft configured with SHRIKE-unique avionics and a target identification acquisition system. The AGM-45 SHRIKE guided missile is composed of four major sections; guidance, warhead, control, and rocket motor. Along with the wing and fin assemblies, the sections make up the all-up-round missile. Several missile versions have been developed and produced to home on certain types of enemy radar transmitters. Each version consists of a guidance section specially developed and tuned to a specific frequency range unique to an individual threat radar. The AERO-5B-1 and LAU-118 series rail launchers are used to launch the SHRIKE missile. They provide the electrical and mechanical interface between the SHRIKE guided missile and the launch aircraft.

NOTS developed Shrike, the first successful antiradar missile, beginning in 1958 as a direct response to Fleet needs, and China Lake personnel took the missile to the carriers in Southeast Asia in the 1960s. During the Vietnam War, aircraft launched the first combat firing of the Shrike. Shrike was developed following many of the same principles that guided Sidewinder development: simplicity, reliability, maintainability, producibility, improvability. The AGM-45 was the first mass produced missile built specifically for the anti-radar mission, and more than 20,000 Shrikes were produced beginning in 1962. The Shrike’s effectiveness was limitated by the requirement that the missile be pointed at the intended target radar during launch, and that the Shrike will lose its lock if the radar ceases to radiate. The Shrike is now being replaced by the much improved AGM-88 HARM.

Manufacturer Texas Instruments,
Sperry Rand/Univac
Weight 390 lbs.
Length 10 ft.
Diameter 8 inches
Wingspan 3 ft.
Guidance: Radar-homing
Propulsion Rocketdyne Mk 39 or Aerojet Mk 53 polybutadiene solid-fuel rocket
Speed approx. Mach 2
Range approx. 10 mi for AGM-45A
up to 28.8 mi for AGM-45B with improved rocket motor
Warhead 145 lbs conventional high-explosive/fragmentation

Data @fas.org



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. Source @gutenberg.us

Brazilian Air Force F-5EMBrazilian Air Force F-5EM CockpitChile operates F-5Es upgraded with Israeli assistance to Tiger III standardChile operates F-5Es upgraded with Israeli assistance to Tiger III standardF-5S Tiger II1393472Singapore Air Force F-5S cockpit

Royal Thai Air Force F-5T Tigris

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).

F-5 HUD/WAC from GEC Marconi

AN/ALE-40 Counter Measure Dispenser System (CMDS)

The AN/ALE-40 Counter Measure Dispenser System (CMDS) provides expendable counter measures stores and dispensing for multiple aircraft platforms. The AN/ALE-40 system is a means by which the pilot can release chaff or flare, depending on the threat type, to counter any homing of a missile to the plane. This is a very simple yet effective system. Chaff looks like millions of tiny strands of aluminum foil and each strip is cut to length to match the various wavelengths of the radar. Using chaff to combat radar was used as early as WWII and still proves very effective against nearly all radar threats. Flares are white hot magnesium that are designed to defeat a missile’s infra-red (IR) tracking mechanisms.This system is manufactured by Tracor. Source @fas.org

AN/ALR-46 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)

The AN/ALR-46 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) is an airborne tuned Radio Frequency (RF) receiver countermeasures receiving set on the B-52H heavy bomber. Produced by Litton and General Instruments Dalmo-Victor Division, the RWR detects and identifies up to 16 hostile radar emmitters in the 2 to 18 GHz band. Source @fas.org

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.

Rafael Python-3

PYTHON-3 is a third-generation short to medium range air-to-air missile adapted to the F-15, F-16, all types of Mirage, F-5, F-4 and Kfir C-2 and C-7 aircraft. The missile upgrades the capability of its carrier and gives it air superiority in modern air combat scenarios, such as:

  • Head-on interceptions
  • Beam interceptions
  • Dogfights involving high-g maneuvers
  • Low-altitude interceptions of helicopters and light aircraft
  • Self-defense air combat during penetration missions.


  • All-aspect capability, including head-on interception
  • Effective against most evasive tactics
  • Capable of intercepting low-signature and low-altitude threats
  • 15 km maximum effective range at high altitude
  • Active proximity fuze, based on lead bias navigation system
  • Highly efficient warhead
  • Versatile target acquisition modes, including slaving to advanced radar system
  • Reliability greater than 95%
  • Full ILS, including combat doctrine manual, training and ground support equipment

Data @fas.org

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).

163109_167230256646537_100000786904955_267294_7106364_nPilot helmet mounted display, weapon sights DASH (Display And Sight Helmet) and Python-4 in the background

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.

Rafael Python-4f16i_soufa_8

The Python-4 fourth generation A/A missile, in operational use in the Israeli Air Force , features a novel “no escape volume” performance with a unique aerodynamic configuration for superior agility. The state-of-the-art, high performance seeker incorporates an advanced IRCM & background rejection capabilities. The missile includes a highly effective fragmentation warhead. Python 4 is a very nimble “fire and forget” missile with an improved maneuvering capability. It has an advanced homing head with a lateral “squint” capability which allows it to receive signals from the line of vision of the pilot who sees the enemy plane through a special (Elbit-developed) helmet. The missile receives these signals and hits the enemy plane without requiring the pilot to steer his aircraft at the enemy plane. The Python 4 can be launched at a range of over 15 km, its warhead is over 11 kg, and its electromagnetic proximity fuze is one of the best in the world.


Rafael Armament Development Authority

Date Deployed

Mid 1980’s


0.5 km to 15 km


Mach 3.5


One Rafael Armaments Development Authority double-base solid propellant rocket motor


IR homing


24.25 lb ( 11 kg )

Launch Weight

264.6 lb ( 120 kg )


9 ft, 10.1 in ( 3.00 m )


6.3 in ( 160 mm )

Fin Span

2 ft, 9.9 in ( 0.86 m )

Data @fas.org

406426_345043022173969_100000048232514_1419836_1531099175_n162964_176606375712353_100000889756312_393764_879376_n167022_176604915712499_100000889756312_393709_3814204_n164356_176604975712493_100000889756312_393711_1706988_n168471_176606485712342_100000889756312_393768_1746555_n168395_176606229045701_100000889756312_393759_2404530_n165705_176606295712361_100000889756312_393761_4980931_n166804_176606179045706_100000889756312_393756_4437675_nImages @thaidefense-news.blogspot.com

“The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) had their F-5s undergo an entensive upgrade program, resulting in the aircraft re-designated as F-5T Tigris. They are armed with Python III and IV missiles; and equipped with the Dash helmet-mounted cueing system.

The last F-5 fleet, upgraded F-5T Tigris and F-5F will continue to serve to 2015–2020.” Source @gutenberg.us

Third Capability Upgrade -2015 (ongoing)

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.


IRST-T is also likely to be deployed on F-5E: Here


Image @thaidefense-news.blogspot.com

ELM-2032 Multimode Airborne Fire Control Radar

Upgraded version of the F-5E of Royal Thai Air Force by Israel, also armed with EL/M-2032. Data @gutenberg.us

ELM-2032 – Multimode Airborne Fire Control Radar

The ELM-2032 is an advanced Multimode Airborne Fire Control Radar designed for multimission fighters, oriented for both air-to-air and strike missions. Modular hardware design, software control and flexible avionic interfaces ensure that the radar can be installed in fighter aircraft (such as F-16, F-5, Mirage, F-4, Mig 21, etc.) and can be customized to meet specific user requirements.


  • Pulse Doppler, all aspect, look-down shoot-down capabilities
  • TWT coherent transmitter
  • Ultra low sidelobe planar antenna
  • Two axes monopulse, guard channel
  • Programmable signal processor
  • Full software control
  • Most advanced architecture, technology and components
  • Adaptability and growth potential
    • MIL 1553B interface to avionic system
    • Modular hardware configuration
    • Spare memory space and computing power

Data @iai.co.il

“The advanced pulse Doppler, multimode FCR can detect and track manoeuvring targets while employing advanced techniques to lock on the target in close combat engagements of up to 150km.

The radar provides very high resolution ground imagery using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology for smart weapons guidance in air-to-ground missions.

While in air-to-sea operation mode, the FCR offers long-range target detection and tracking, including target classification capabilities at a ranges of up to 300km.” Data @airforce-technology.com

F5E_21129_211SQ_120114-2 F-5T – Tigris 

“The contracts will be performed over a three-year period.  Elbit has been providing upgrades for the plane including new mission computers, advanced glass cockpits featuring 3-color displays and operational capabilities, as well as the DASH IV Helmet, Weapon Delivery and Navigation Systems, for years.” @Elbit Systems Ltd

F-5T-Tigris glass cockpit

Rafael Python-5

Developed by the Israeli firm RAFAEL, the Python 5 is an air-to-air guided missile which is launched from a fighter aircraft (Kfir, F-15, F-16, Sea Harrier, etc). The Python 5 is powered by a solid propellant rocket engine and is armed with an 11kg, detonation-proximity warhead. Traveling at Mach 4, this precise weapon has an operational range of 22 km. It is equipped with an electro-optical imaging infrared seeker (IIR or ImIR) which scans the target area for hostile aircraft, then locks-on to target in its final phase. The Python 5 is a fifth generation of air-to-air Python missiles. The missile allows the pilot to engage an enemy aircraft with a revolutionary full sphere launch capability. The Python-5 is the most accurate and reliable air-to-air missile in the Israeli Army’s inventory and one of the most advanced guided missile in the world.

Specifications of the Python 5

Type: air-to-air guided missile
Propulsion: solid fuel rocket engine
Range: 22 km
Speed: Mach 4
Warhead: 11 kg
Gudance system: IR + electro-optical imaging seeker, lock on after launch, with infrared counter-counter-measures
Length: 310 cm
Span: 64 cm
Diameter: 16 cm
Weight: 105 kg

Data @historywarsweapons.com


Derby BVR Air-to-Air Missile

Derby (Alto) is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to meet the combat needs of the armed forces.

The Derby AAM can be integrated onto a variety of fighter aircraft such as F-5, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Gripen E and Mirage and is capable of engaging aerial threats from short ranges and near-beyond visual range.

Derby’s variants include I-Derby and I-Derby ER (Extended Range). The upgraded I-Derby AAR missile is equipped with a software-defined active radar seeker and was unveiled at the Aero India 2015 exhibition held in Bengaluru, India.

The I-Derby ER advanced active radar missile was unveiled at the Paris Air Show 2015. It features a solid-state active radar seeker and a dual pulse rocket motor, which provides an operational range of up to 100km.

The missile can be launched from Sea Harrier jet fighter, F-16 (Block 52) Fighting Falcon, F-5E Tiger II, and IAI Kfir combat aircraft.

The weapon has a length of 362cm, a wing span of 64cm and a diameter of 16cm. It weighs 118kg and is armed with a 23kg warhead. The seeker and guidance system are fitted in the front of the missile, while the rocket motor is placed at the rear.

The missile can operate in lock-on before launch (LOBL) and lock-on after launch (LOAL) modes. In LOAL mode of operation, it receives target information after being deployed from its launch platform, while in LOBL mode, which is enabled in tight dogfights, the seeker is locked onto the target before the missile is launched.

The active radar seeker provides guidance and improved target accuracy at radio frequency (RF). The radar’s look-down / shoot-down capability enables the missile to attack targets below and along the line of the horizon.

Derby’s high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead defeats non-armoured targets and light material targets.

The weapon features fire-and-forget engagement capability and can be optionally fitted with advanced, programmable electronic counter countermeasures (ECCM) for operation in hostile environments. Data @airforce-technology.com

ELBIT Gets $85 Million Asian Contract to Upgrade F-5 Aircraft

Elbit Systems Ltd. announced today that it was awarded contracts from an Asian country in a total amount of approximately $85 million. Most of the amount is for an F-5 aircraft avionics upgrade program and the balance is for the supply of electro-optic and communications systems.

The name of the country in question was not revealed. Maybe it chose to remain anonymous because it does not want certain other countries to know that it does business with Israel.

It would be really funny if it turned out to be North Korea, but they probably don’t have any of the American made F-5 aircraft.

The contracts will be performed over a three-year period. Elbit has been providing upgrades for the plane including new mission computers, advanced glass cockpits featuring 3-color displays and operational capabilities, as well as the DASH IV Helmet, Weapon Delivery and Navigation Systems, for years.

Produced by Northrop Grumman, the F-5 Tiger is an agile, highly maneuverable, reliable supersonic fighter, combining advanced aerodynamic design, engine performance and low operating costs. Since 1959, more than 2,600 were built by Northrop Grumman and under co-production and licensing agreements with Canada, the Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, Spain and Switzerland. It has also been used by Norway, Brazil and of course the U.S.

Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems commented, “Asia-Pacific is a very important market for Elbit Systems, and we are pleased to be awarded further programs in the region, which programs benefit from the synergies across the various parts of our organization. We are proud to have been selected to perform this aircraft upgrade program, building on our vast know-how and experience in F-5 avionics modernization projects.”

“We have witnessed a growing demand for upgrades of this nature, and we trust that further customers will follow, benefiting from a mature aircraft upgraded with market leading technologies.”

In other Elbit news, the company has said that it expects a drop in its third quarter earnings of $15-$20 million due to the recent depreciation of the Shekel.  Posted Wed, Oct 22nd, 2014 by @jewishbusinessnews.com


Progress of Project F-5 E / F Royal Thai Air Force

พลอากาศตรี สุรทิน ยาวะโนภาส หัวหน้าคณะติดตามความก้าวหน้า โครงการ Pre – MOD F-5 E/F ตรวจเยี่ยมความก้าวหน้าของโครงการ ระหว่าง 28 – 29 มีนาคม 2559 ณ กองบิน 21

Air Vice Marshal Soratin Yaiwonopa monitoring progress Pre – MOD F-5 E / F inspect the progress of the project, 28 – 29 March 2559 at 21 Wing.

Images @thaidefense-news.blogspot.com

It seems the Royal Thai Air Force upgrades past and present of the F-5s have been kept confidential there is very little info and it is notable that some F-5s have 1 canon which may suggest some were fitted with FIAR Grifo F/X Plus multimode radar.  Elbit have also kept all upgrades confidential.





Single-seat fighter prototype. Only three aircraft were built.

N-156F @airwar.ru


The three prototypes were given the U.S. Air Force designation YF-5A.

File:Northrop YF-5A with sidewinder missiles 060905-F-1234S-003.jpgFile:Northrop YF-5A with sidewinder missiles 060905-F-1234S-003


Single-seat fighter version of F-5, originally without radar, but was later equipped with AN/APQ-153 radar during upgrades.

166068.jpgNorthrop F-5A Freedom Fighter Greece @airplane-pictures.net

F-5A (G)

Single-seat fighter version of the F-5A for the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

Version of the F-5A fighter for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. @caza-y-ataque.blogspot.com


This designation was given to one aircraft used for static tests. (Could not find any pictures)


Designation of Spanish Air Force Northrop F-5A which served in the Ejército del Aire

A.9-050 21-50 Northrop SF-5A Freedom Fighter cn 2050 Spanish Air Force Cuatro Vientos 07May16 by kerrydavidtaylor

F-5C Skoshi Tiger

12 F-5A Freedom Fighters were tested by the US Air Force for four and a half months in Vietnam.


F-5E Tiger II

Single-seat fighter version with AN/APQ-159 replacing earlier AN/APQ-153 in F-5A.

Swiss Air Force F-5E Tiger II @lw.admin.ch

F-5E Tiger III

Upgraded version of the F-5E in use by the Chilean Air Force, with EL/M-2032 radar replacing the original AN/APQ-159.

Chilean Air Force F-5E Tiger III @wikimedia.org


A single Swiss Air Force F-5E with F-5F Wings. Currently (2011), this aircraft is part of the Museum at Meiringen air base (Could not find any pictures)


The temporary designation given to the Northrop F-20 Tigershark, armed with General Electric AN/APG-67 radar.

Damn the F-20 is HOT!  But back than it came out at the same time as the F-16 which was hotter!  But looking at it now I wish they built it!

In comparison to later fighters, the improved F-5E had some weaknesses; these included marginal acceleration, rearward visibility, and fuel fraction, and a lack of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weapons once such radar guided missiles became reliable during the 1980s. The F-5G, later renamed the F-20 Tigershark, aimed to correct these weaknesses while maintaining a small size and low cost to produce a competitive fighter. Compared to the F-5E, it had 60% more power, a higher climb rate and acceleration, better cockpit visibility, more modern radar and BVR capability, and competitive performance with fourth generation fighters.

General Electric AN/APG-67 radar

Like the F-5, it had better cost effectiveness as it had the minimum necessary features relative to its competition to perform its air superiority mission. As an example, in the 1960s and early 1970s, the F-5’s lack of BVR missiles was not a significant disadvantage as the kill rate of such missiles was approximately 8% to 10%, and the performance and loss of surprise (radar warning to the enemy) cost of carrying them was not practically justified. By the early 1980s, the American AIM-7 Sparrow radar-guided missile in its “M” version was realistically exceeding a 60% kill rate, and was integrated onto the F-20.

Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, test pilot and the first man to break the sound barrier, referred to the F-20 as “the finest fighter”. Despite its performance and cost effectiveness, the F-20 lost out for foreign sales against the similarly capable, more expensive F-16, which was being procured in large numbers by the U.S. Air Force and was viewed as having greater support.

tumblr_inline_nro2bkPi9M1rlhtha_1280Image @aerospaceweb.orgDiagram @sas1946.com

F-20 Tigershark: Details


Ex-Swiss Air Force F-5Es used by the U.S. Navy as “aggressor” aircraft, with AN/APG-69 replacing the original AN/APQ-159. Intended to replace high-time USN/USMC F-5Es in the adversary role, and see service through to 2015.

US Navy Northrop F-5N Tiger II 761537 #11 of VFC-13 Saints @air-and-space.comF-5N cockpit @macstories.net


Upgraded version of the F-5E in use by the Republic of Singapore Air Force, equipped with the Galileo Avionica’s FIAR Grifo-F X-band radar and are capable of firing the AIM-120 AMRAAM.

RSAF F-5S Tiger II by kelvin255

F-5T Tigris

Upgraded version of the F-5E of Royal Thai Air Force by Israel, also armed with EL/M-2032.


Upgraded version of the F-5E of Brazilian Air Force armed with Italian Grifo-F radar.

F5EM | by fpizarro

The Italian Grifo-F radar takes up lots of space so 1 cannon on the pilot right has to be removed 

FIAR Grifo-X F-5BRManutencao-FAB


Upgraded version of the F-5E, in service with the Royal Moroccan Air Force.

F-5TIII Royal Moroccan Air Force @aviationcorner.net

F-5E Tiger 2000

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAImage @taiwanairpower.org

Upgraded version of Taiwan AIDC, equipped with the GD-53 radar, capable of firing the TC-2 Sky Sword II, MIL-STD-1553B Link and GPS/INS


Image @airforceworld.com

GD-53 multi-mode pulse-Doppler radar based on the AN/APG-67(V) developed for the F-20, but incorporating some technology from the Westinghouse AN/APG-66 unit used by the F-16A. Data @military-today.com



Single-seat reconnaissance version of the F-5A fighter. Approximately 120 were built.

rf-5a_rokaf_97-148.jpgRF-5A South Korea – Image xairforces.net
RF-5A (G)

Single-seat reconnaissance version of the F-5A fighter for the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

RF-5A Royal Norwegian Air Force (G) @wikimedia.org

RF-5E Tigereye

Single-seat reconnaissance version of the F-5E fighter. The RF-5E Tigereye was exported to Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

RF-5 ETigereye Malaysia Air Force @wikimedia.org

RF-5E Tigergazer

Seven upgraded single-seat reconnaissance version of the F-5E for Taiwan by ST Aerospace.

11132723233_3b10a13edf_b.jpgRF-5E Tigergazer Taiwan

RF-5S Tigereye

Single-seat reconnaissance version of the F-5S for the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

RF-5S-Tigereye-1200Singapore Air Force RF-5S Tigereye Singapore


Spanish reconnaissance aircraft

5131525546_69bb3006ae_bSpain Air Force (CASA) SRF-5A Freedom Fighter 


Thai designation of the RF-5A

Royal Thai Air Force RF-5A TKh18-3/13/70104/97158



Spanish designation of the Northrop F-5B.

AE9-18 Northrop F-5 Spanish Air Force | by GSairpics


Temporarily designation given to the YF-5B.

YF-5B-21 63-8445 @afwing.com


One F-5B was fitted with a 5,000 lbf (2,268 kgf) General Electric J85-GE-21 engine, and used as a prototype for the F-5E Tiger II. (See picture above)


Two-seat trainer version.

F-5 Corporation N586PC by Rick Schlamp


Two-seat trainer version of the F-5B for the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

13369 / PX-S Northrop F-5A(G)-20-NO Freedom Fighter c/n N.7002 Norway – Air Force @aviator.nl


Two-seat trainer version in use by the Spanish Air Force for air combat training.

14590462206_020e05d0b9.jpgSpanish Air Force F-5BM 


Unbuilt trainer version. (No pics)

F-5F Tiger II

Two-seat trainer version of F-5E Tiger II, AN/APQ-167 radar tested, intended to replace AN/APQ-157, but not carried out. (No pics)

F-5F Tiger III

Upgraded trainer version of the F-5F in use by the Chilean Air Force.

Posted on 22 septiembre, 201422 septiembre, 2014 by aguilas-administrador @aguilasdeoro.cl


Upgraded F-5F in use by the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

Republic of Singapore Air Force F-5T Fighter


Upgraded trainer version of the F-5F for the Brazilian Air Force.

Brazilian Air Force F-5FM by Jeff Head



Fighter versions for the Canadian Forces Air Command built under license by Canadair. Its Canadian designation is CF-116.
CF116742Northrop (Canadair) CF-116A 55678_1052406688Northrop (Canadair) CF-116D 
Single-seat fighter version of the CF-5A for the Royal Netherlands Air Force; 75 built.
NF-5A K-3024 Eventually, in 1970, the Northrop NF-5 took over from the Streaks. Although lacking the charisma of the contemporary F-104G, the NF-5, with three squadrons and an OCU, formed the backbone of the RNethAF attack force during the 70’s and 80’s. K-3024 was seen at Twenthe on 16 August 1984. @cavok-aviation-photos.net
Two-seat training version of the CF-5D for the Royal Netherlands Air force; 30 built.

Single-seat fighter version of the F-5A for the Spanish Air Force; built under licence in Spain by CASA.
Spanish Air Force Ala 21 Northrop F-5A A.9-048/21 @aviationphotocompany.com
Single-seat reconnaissance version of the RF-5A for the Spanish Air force; built under license in Spain By CASA.
Spanish Air Force RF-5A
Two-seat training version of the F-5B for the Spanish Air Force. Built under license in Spain by CASA.
F-5B español (CASA SF-5B (AE.9))
Single-seat version of the CF-5A for the Venezuelan Air Force. This designation was given to some Canadair CF-116s which were sold to the Venezuelan Air Force.
Venezuelan Air Force Northrop @wikimedia.org
Two-seat training version of the CF-5D for the Venezuelan Air Force.
Canadair (Northrop) VF-5B Freedom Fighter Canadair (Northrop) VF-5B Freedom Fighter : Two-seat training fighter version for the Venezuelan Air Force (4) # Canadair CF-116s sold to the Venezuelan Air Force. @xairforces.net
F-5E built in South Korea for Republic of Korea Air Force. First introduction: September 1982; 48 built.
KF-5E @afwing.com
F-5F built in South Korea for Republic of Korea Air Force. First introduction: September 1982; 20 built.
KF-5F @namu.wiki
Chung Cheng
F-5E/F built in Taiwan for Republic of China Air Force by AIDC. First introduction: 30 October 1974, one day before the late President Chiang Kai Shek’s 88th birthday, and was thus christened “Chung Cheng”, an alias of President Chiang; 308 built.


F-5E built or modified in Iran with unknown modifications and a mid wing.
Azarakhsh. Azarakhsh_2 @militaryedge.org
F-5E modified in Iran with canted, twin vertical stabilizers.
Saeqeh Azarakhsh fighter aircraft Iran Iranian Air Force @janes.com

Data @gutenberg.us

Updated Sep 11, 2016

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