Print this page | Close window
Swiss Air Force

Northrop F-5E Tiger II


Manufacturer: Northrop Corporation, Hawthorne, California, USA
Final construction: Federal aircraft construction plant Emmen (today's RUAG Aviation)
Year of Manufacture: 1976 and 1983/84
Purpose: Raumschutz
Crew: 1 pilot
Commenced service: 1978
Number of aircraft procured: 98
Number of aircraft still in operation: 22 (as per april 2015; without F-5F, two-seat fighter)

Registration: J-3001 to J-3098


YearF-5EF-5FMio. CHF

At the end of the seventies, the retirement of the Venom and the increased use of the Hunter aircraft for air-to-ground attack caused a gap in the field of area air-defence which was to be closed with the Northrop F-5E Tiger II.

In 1976, after thorough evaluation, the parliament decided on the procurement of 72 Tiger fighter aircraft, 66 of the type F-5E (single seater) and 6 of the type F-5F (double seater). The parts and assemblies were manufactured in the USA, but the Swiss Federal Aircraft Factory, Emmen, carried out the final assembly.

The transition training and the introduction of these aircraft went smoothly in the aeronautical and the technical field.

These reliable Tiger aircraft were especially well suited for our militia system and therefore the parliament decided in 1981 to reinforce the fleet with 38 additional aircraft, of which 6 double seater of the type F-5F. Again, the final assembly was done in Switzerland. This acquisition was concluded in the year 1984.

The double seater type F-5F is primarily used for conversion training and control flights. The pilots of the professional and militia squadrons fly aerial combat missions mainly with the single seater F-5E aircraft, limiting their weaponry to guns and infrared missiles. Despite the fact that, compared to modern fighter aircraft, their engagement possibilities in aerial combat might be limited, the Tiger aircraft serves well in area air-defence (up to approx. 6000 m elevation).

For the start-up procedure, the F-S‘s engines require compressed air, which is delivered by a power unit on the ground and transmitted to the engines through a thick tube. The ignition is switched on and fuel injected only after the engines have reached a sufficiently high torque through the outside air. The landing gear and flaps are extended and retracted and the control surfaces and the air brakes operated by means of two redundant hydraulic systems.


Patrouille Suisse (Enlargement in new window)Enlargement in new window

Patrouille Suisse

For the Tiger to be more visible to both the spectators on the ground and the pilots in flight, twelve aircraft have been painted in the current red and white colour scheme, which in addition ensures that the pilots in a dogfight are able to better distinguish their own aircraft. Another feature to enhance attractiveness was fitting the aircraft with smoke generators, which at the command of the leader are switched on or off by means of a button on the control stick. A diesel-oil mixture is fed into the hot exhaust jet of the right hand side engine, generating the smoke, which lasts for three minutes in total. In order to make room for the additional tank for the smoke generator system, the red and white Tigers had their right hand side canon removed.


Technical data

Max. speed:Mach 1.64 or 1,700 km/h
Take-off speed:145 kts / 270 km/h
Landing speed:155 ktd / 290 km/h
Take-off roll:610 m
Initial climb speed:174 m/s
Service ceiling:15,590 m over sealevel
Max. load factor:+7,3 / -3,9 g
Flight endurance:2 hours
Range:1,056 km
Ferry flight range:3.100 km (with an additional 1,000 litre tank)
Structure:Self-supporting low wing aeroplane, spear headed trapezoidal wings, all-metal
Length:14.68 m
Height:4.06 m
Width span:8.13 m
Empty mass:4,350 kg
Take-off mass:7,080 kg
Max. take-off mass:11,180 kg
Engine:2 General Electric Model J85-GE-21A
Type:Axial-straight turbine
Idle rpm bench:8,300 rev/min
Full tonnage:16,600 rev/min
Maximum thrust without afterburner:3,114 daN (each 1,557 daN)
Maximum thrust with afterburner:4,448 daN (each 2,224 daN)
Equipment:Ejection seat, pressurized cabin, retractable gear, brake shut, speed brakes, instrument and night-flight equipped
Armaments:2 guided air - air missiles SIWA AIM-9P,
2 20 mm bordcannons M 39 (560 rounds)
External carriage:3,170 kg, additional tanks
    For questions about this page: Public Information Swiss Air Force
    Last updated: 29.07.2015
    Badge Swiss Air Force


    Additional photographs of this type of aircraft are available here

    Squadrons F-5 Tiger


    Print this page | Close window