In the 1950s, with jets growing larger and more expensive, Northrop developed a design for a small, simple, and inexpensive — yet still supersonic — aircraft.
The aircraft used two GE J85 engines weighing less than 500 pounds, yet producing up to 5,000 pounds of thrust.
The Air Force initially adopted the design as the two-seat T-38 Talon supersonic trainer. This is still its main advanced trainer today.
The F-5 version was built as a high-performance, inexpensive export fighter for U.S. allies. Early models were the F-5A and F-5B Freedom Fighter. Later models were the F-5E and F-5F Tiger II.
Our bird is an F-5A built in 1968. It was initially sold to the Shah of Iran and later traded to Jordan.
F-5s are still used today as adversary aircraft in dissimilar air-combat training.
In Vietnam, the USAF used F-5s in the brief Skoshi (small) Tiger program. Afterwards, the aircraft were loaned to the Republic of Vietnam Air Force. The aircraft proved to be good bomb haulers...