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F-5N Tiger II

The F-5N is a single seat, twin-engine, tactical fighter and attack aircraft providing simulated air-to-air combat training manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corporation. The F-5F is a dual-seat version, twin-engine, tactical fighter commonly used for training and adversary combat tactics. The aircraft serves in an aggressor-training role with simulation capability of current threat aircraft in fighter combat mode. The F-5E was replaced by F-5N, with the transition completed by December 2006. In all the program calls for the replacement of 24 Navy and 12 Marine Corps F-5 aircraft with Swiss F-5 aircraft. Thirty-two aircraft were received by the end of 2007 with the remainder being received by the end of 2008.

As a tactical fighter aircraft, the F-5N accommodates a pilot only in a pressurized, heated and air conditioned cockpit and rocket-powered ejection seat while the F-5F is a two-seat combat-capable fighter. This aircraft has an upward opening canopy, which is hinged at the rear. The design places particular emphasis on maneuverability rather than high speed, notably by the incorporation of maneuvering flaps. Full-span leading-edge flaps work in conjunction with trailing-edge flaps and are operated by a control on the pilot's throttle quadrant. The F-5 also has anti-skid brakes, Initial Navigation System (INS), ALR-87 Radar Warning Receivers (RWR), AN/APQ-159 radar and ALE-40 chaff/flare capability. This aircraft carries AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles on wingtip launchers.

The F-5 was developed by Northrop Grumman for export through the Military Assistance Program (MAP) in February 1965. This aircraft was initially offered as a candidate for a U.S. lightweight fighter, but became extremely popular as an export finding its niche in the overseas market. In December 1970, Northrop Grumman began development and production on the F-5A-21, an aircraft design that emphasized maneuverability rather than high speed and was officially reclassified as the F-5E. The F-5N/Fs are third-generation F-5 fighter aircraft designed for replacement of the F-5A/B/E production models. These aging aircraft will be replaced by low-houred F-5N/F acquired from the Swiss Air Force surplus by United States Navy (USN).

Currently, the Swiss F-5N Replacement Program replaces the present high-time Navy F-5Es with low-time [with approximately 2500 Flight Hour per Frame] F-5Ns allowing the USN/USMC to operate the F-5N aircraft to Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. The Phase Depot Maintenance (PDM) required modifications to USN configuration provides a safer, lower-flight time Adversary aircraft with increased capability for Department of Navy (DoN) pilots. These aircraft are assigned to Government facilities, namely, NAS Key West, Florida, MCAS Yuma, Arizona, and NAS Fallon, Nevada.

VMFT-401's F-5N aircraft provide dissimilar air-to-air training to MAWTS-1, VMFAT-101, MAG-11,-13,-14 and -31, as well as multiple U.S. Navy and USAF squadrons. In FY 2005, this support accounted for 4,241 of their operational sorties. The trend in the world is for Tier 1 and other nations to upgrade the avionics and weapons systems of their older Category III frontline fighters. F-5 Radar and EA jammer upgrades allows 4th generation radar simulation, increasing F-5 FLE and training readiness for the FRS and Fleet Squadrons. Meeting 4th generation bandit simulation requirement with the F-5 will reduce the need to use FA-18 aircraft and save fatigue life. These upgrades include the addition of Semi-Active Radar (SAR) I & II missile class and Active Radar (AR) 1 class missiles. The current radar system employed by the F-5N cannot simulate advanced threat aircraft required for training by the USMC F/A-18 Training and Readiness Syllabus. A new radar system provides a low cost alternative when compared to any other platform in use in the adversary role.

Upgrade of 24 F-5N aircraft with an improved Inertial Navigation System (INS) and instrumentation to enhance readiness and sortie completion rates, reduce risk in all weather operations and enhance the reliability and supportability of the navigation system is currently completely funded.

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