Northrop F-5 Tiger II

Northrop F-5 Tiger II

About the Aircraft

Northrop F-5 Tiger II

The Hickory Aviation Museum’s F-5E Bureau Number 741540 is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation. It arrived in January of 2008. There is at least one local Hickory resident that flew her. Coordinated by Kyle & Kregg Kirby.

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.

National origin United States of America
Manufacturer Northrop Corporation
First flight F-5A: 30 Jul 1959, F-5E: 11 Aug 1972
Introduction 1962
Status In Service
Primary users United States Navy, Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Islamic Republic of Iran
Produced 1959–1987
Number built 2,246 (F5-A thru E Variants)
Propulsion 2 × GE J85-GE-21B turbojet
Unit cost ~$2.1 million (F-5E)
Developed from Northrop T-38 Talon
Developed Into Northrop F-20 Tigershark
Northrop F-5 Tiger II BuNo 741540

General Characteristics


Crew: 1
Length: 47 ft 4¾ in (14.45 m)
Wingspan: 26 ft 8 in (8.13 m)
Height: 13 ft 4½ in (4.08 m)
Wing area: 186 ft² (17.28 m²)
Empty weight: 9,558 lb (4,349 kg)
Loaded weight: 15,745 lb (7,157 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 24,722 lb (11,214 kg)
Dry thrust: 3,500 lbf (15.5 kN) each
Thrust with afterburner: 5,000 lbf ea
Internal fuel: 677 U.S. gal, Ext 275 gal x 3 tanks


Maximum speed: 917 kn (Mach 1.6, 1,060 mph, 1,700 km/h); at altitude
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)
Guns: 2× 20 mm (0.787 in) M39A2 Revolver cannons in the nose, 280 rounds/gun
Hardpoints: 7 total.
Missiles/Bombs/Other: Air-to-air missiles:, AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AMRAAM, MK80, Rockets, Walleye, Maverick, Napalm and Unguided munitions, Fuel