F-5B Freedom Fighter / Tiger
The F-5B featured two seats in tandem for dual fighter/trainer duties. The internal guns of the single seat F5-A were not installed on the F-5B.
Procurement of the F-5B was initiated with that of the A model series. The first two contracts issued by the Air Force called for a production ratio of one two seater for every nine single seat F-5As.
The Air Force began accepting F-5Bs in March 1964.
The F-5B became operational 4 months before the F-56A, with the 4441st COTS at Williams AFB.
The F-5B had no significant operational problems.
Originally due to be phasedout in April 1973, F-5B production was extended in May 1972 on the basis that future F-5E sales might boost FMS requirements for the F-5B trainer. No firm commitment for additional productions was made at the time, however.
By mid 1973, the Air Force had accepted 84 of 88 F-5Bs destined for the Military Assistance Program (Grant Aid). It had also received, between fiscal years 1967 and 1970, 13 FMS F-5Bs (2 bought by Libya, 6 by Norway, and 5 by Iran). Two more, sold to Jordan, were expected in early 1974.
The Flyaway Cost Per Production Aircraft was $1.2 million-airframe, $856,000; engines (installed), $218,000; electronics, $22,000; ordnance, $6,000; other (including armament), $81,000.
During the F-5 training course, which lasted 45 days, students flew 38 sorties, participated in 56 events, and gathered 40 hours of flying time in addition to 182 hours of academic and ground training. The first foreign students to enter the F-5 training program from Iran, Greece, and Korea completed training in March 1965. A longer training course was developed for pilots due to enter combat operations. The course, specially designed for the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF), featured 92 hours of flying time in 103 training days. The first VNAF group of 33 A-1 qualified pilots commenced conversion to F-5s in October 1966.
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