The Northrop F-5 tactical fighter was designed as an extremely maneuverable, supersonic fighter with a high rate of reliability at a low operating cost. The F-5 first flew on July 30, 1959 with the first customer delivery in 1964. The last of more than 2,600 F-5’s was produced in 1989 and about two-thirds of these are still in service with 26 countries more than 4 decades later. The F-5 was manufactured by Northrop Grumman and under license in Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.

The Swiss Patrouille Aerobatic Team was officially formed in August 1964 equipped with the Hawker Hunter and carried out regular operations when not practicing or performing. In 1994 the team traded their Hunters for the F-5E Tiger II which they began to use in 1995. The F-5E is a much more maneuverable aircraft and probably will be in service with the team well into the 2020’s. The team is based at Emmen and in 1996 smoke generators were added to make the maneuvers more visible during their approximate 18 minute displays.

Specifications Northrop F-5E Tiger II
Crew: 1
Length - 47 ft 4.75 in (14.45 m) Wingspan - 26 ft 8 in (8.13 m) Height - 13 ft 4.5 in (4.08 m)
2 X General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet Dry thrust - 3,500 lbf (15.5 kN) per engine Thrust with afterburner - 5,000 lbf (22.2 kN) per engine Internal fuel - 677 US gal (2,563 L) External fuel - 275 US gal (1,040 L) per tank in up to 3 tanks
Empty weight - 9,558 lb (4,349 kg) Loaded weight - 15,745 lb (7,157 kg) Max takeoff weight - 20,486 lb (9,312 kg)
Maximum speed - 917 kn (1,060 mph, 1,700 km/h, Mach 1.6) Range - 760 nmi (870 mi, 1,405 km) Ferry range - 2,010 nmi (2,310 mi, 3,700 km) Service ceiling - 51,800 ft (15,800 m) Rate of climb - 34,400 ft/min (175 m/s)
Guns – 2 X 20 mm (0.787 in) Pontiac M39A2 Revolver cannons in the nose, 280 rounds/gun Hardpoints - 7 total (3 X wet): 2 X wing-tip AAM launch rails, 4 X under-wing and 1 X under- fuselage pylon stations holding up to 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg) of payload. Rockets 2 X LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19 X / 7 X Hydra 70 mm rockets, respectively) or 2 X LAU-5003 rocket pods (each with 19 X CRV7 70 mm rockets) or 2 X LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4 X Zuni 127 mm rockets) or 2 X Matra rocket pods (each with 18 X SNEB 68 mm rockets) Missiles: Air-to-air missile: 4 X AIM-9 Sidewinders or 4 X AIM-120 AMRAAMs Air-to-surface missile: 2 X AGM-65 Mavericks Bombs: A variety of air-to-ground ordnance such as the Mark 80 series of unguided iron bombs (including 3 kg and 14 kg practice bombs), CBU-24/49/52/58 cluster bomb munitions, napalm bomb canisters and M129 Leaflet bomb and laser guided bombs of Paveway family. Others: up to 3 X 150/275 US gallon Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering time. Avionics Emerson Electric AN/APQ-153 radar on early batch of F-5E Emerson Electric AN/APQ-159 radar on later production F-5E