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.
The F5-E Tiger II, in service with the Swiss Air Force, is a light but very agile jet fighter. Over 100 of this aircraft were aquired by Switzerland. Since 1995 this small jet is used by the worlwide well known acrobatic team “Patrouille Suisse”.
The Italeri kit of the Northrop F5e Tiger LL contains one set of marking for the Swiss Air Force Aerbatic Display Team known as the Patrouille Suisse. A very colourful scheme that enhances the slim lines of the Northrop F5E Tiger ll
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