Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA5402 Northrop T-38A 67-14833, 49th FW, Holloman AFB, 2011

The first prototype of what would become the Northrop T-38 Talon and F-5 Freedom Fighters flew on April 10, 1959. The first Talon entered service on March 17, 1961 at Randolph AFB. The USAF and NASA used the Talon to help their pilots maintain their proficiency. NASA especially liked the T-38 for its much lower operating and maintenance costs compared to the F-18 they had tried. Because of the low cost to operate the T-38 the USAF Thunderbirds Demonstration Team used them from 1974 – 1983 during the OPEC oil embargo.

The USAF has three locations where they provide adversary training programs. They are located at Tyndall AFB Florida, Langley AFB Hampton Virginia and Holloman AFB New Mexico. As of 2012 there are 508 T-38 Trainers in operation. T-38 67-14833 MSN T6029 started out as a T-38A but like others was upgraded to a T-38C with new engine and system components. The T-38 is used to provide adversary operations at a fraction of the cost of a second F-22 Raptor and it also reduces hours on F-22 equipment.

Specifications Northrop T-38A Talon
Years of Production – 1961 / 1972
Number produced – 1,100 +
Crew – 2 x Instructor / Student
Dimensions
Length – 46 ft 4.5 in (14.14 m) Wingspan – 25 ft 3 in (7.7 m) Height – 12 ft 10.5 in (3.92 m)
Weight
Empty – 7,200 lb (3,270 kg) Loaded – 11,820 lb (5,360 kg Maximum Take-Off – 12,093 lb (5,485 kg)
Performance
Engines – 2 x General Electric J85-5A (J855R after PMP modification) Afterburning Turbojets Thrust Dry – 2,050 lbf (9.1 kN) per engine Afterburner – 2,900 lbf (17.1 kN) per engine Maximum Speed – Mach 1.3 (858 mph / 1,381 km/h) Range – 1,140 mi (1,835 km) Service Ceiling – 50,000 ft (15,240 m) ROC – 33,600 ft/min (170.7 m/s)