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Swiss Air Force

Northrop F-5E Tiger II

Manufacturer: Northrop Corporation, Hawthorne, California, USA
Final construction: Federal aircraft construction plant Emmen
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 service: 42 (as per March 2014; see also 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).


Technical data

Max. speed:1,700 km/h, bzw. Mach 1.64
Max. rate of climb:174 m/s
Max. flightlevel:16,000 over sealevel
Flight endurance:2 hours
Range:1,056 km
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:4,760 kg
Permissable load:2,500 kg bzw. 3,510 kg
Flight mass:11,900 kg
Engine:Model J85-GE-21A (two per plane)
Manufacturer:General Electric, USA
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, 2 20 mm bordcannons
External carriage: 
    For questions about this page: Public Information Swiss Air Force
    Last updated: 10.03.2014
    Badge Swiss Air Force


    Additional photographs of this type of aircraft are available here

    Squadrons F-5 Tiger


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