The F-5 was developed by Northrop as a lightweight multi-mission aircraft in the nineteen fifties capable of speeds of about Mach 1.4. It was aimed at air forces that had no big budgets available and the USAF did not really put in big orders for this plane, only a dozen being evaluated in Vietnam. But the USAF did adopt the T-38 Talon trainer that was based on work on the F-5 as the world's first supersonic trainer. The F-5A prototype, the N-156, was ready for  flight test in 1959. Later on many orders came in from various nations like Canada, Greece, Iran, South Korea, Libya, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and South Vietnam. Many F-5 were delivered through the Military Assistance Program to various countries, including NATO. Overall about 650 F-5As and 200 two-seat F-5B aircraft were built.

Of the F-5, several variations were developed, based on specific air force specs of various countries. The NF-5 was developed for the Netherlands Air Force and was based on the Canadair CF-5. This F-5 version has two more powerfull engines and some extra equipment as compared to the usual F-5A. The NF-5A is the single seater and the NF-5B the two seater.

The major external characteristics of the Dutch NF-5 are:
- tailhook below aft fuselage (later also used for F-5E type)
- two large split air intake doors aft of main wing trailing edge in both sides fuselage to provide extra air to engines (later also used for F-5E type)
- provision to carry also the larger 275 gallon underwing fueltanks
- manoeuvring leading edge" flaps
- other nose wheel leg (that could be extended)
- different cockpit main instrument panel layout
- slightly larger intake than USAF F-5A for the more powerfull Canadian Orenda engines (similar to CF-5)

( Note: Later on, the F-5 was used as a starting point for the  improved International Fighter Aircraft (IFA) program. The result was the F-5E Tiger II. Compared to the F-5A, it was lengthened and enlarged, with increased wing area with and more sophisticated avionics.

nf-5a-profile


Northrop NF-5B  KLu

This two seater NF-5B aircraft was photographed at the MLM museum in Soesterberg, The Netherlands.

Photographed March 2013 by Cees Hendriks (c) Copyright IPMS Nederland

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Northrop NF-5B KLu

NF-5B aircraft details, Royal Netherlands Air Force and scanned from Slides.

Photographed Seventies by Fred Bachofner (c) Copyright IPMS Nederland

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Northrop NF-5A KLu

NF-5A single seater aircraft details of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, scanned from Slides.

Photographed Seventies by Fred Bachofner (c) Copyright IPMS Nederland

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Northrop NF-5A demonstration aircraft KLu

Various NF-5A aircraft used for aerial demonstrations by the Royal Netherlands Air Force, such as the Double Dutch pair and a single demo aircraft. Scanned from Slides.

Photographed Seventies by Fred Bachofner (c) Copyright IPMS Nederland

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Northrop F-5B  USAF

This F-5B twoseater 72-00441 / c/n 8092 and code no.20411 is at the PIMA Air museum, Tucson AZ

Photographed November 2013 by Cees Hendriks (c) Copyright IPMS Nederland

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OFFICIAL USAF COLOUR INFORMATION F-5 FREEDOM FIGHTER
from USAF handbook Technical order TO 1-1-4. Collection M. de Vreeze (used with permission)
Standard System colour numbers refer to the Federal Standard system with 5 digit numbered colours. Deviations on real aircraft may occur.

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Northrop F-5A  Royal Norwegian Air Force

This F-5A (c/n 7030) coded "207" is a former Royal Norwegian air force aircraft.  A lot of detail is seen here including full cockpit details, undercarriage but also the openend up hatches. It is on display a long way from home at the Western Museum of Flight , Torrance airport, California (USA).

Photographed 2015 by Cees Hendriks (c) Copyright IPMS Nederland

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Various scale models exist of the F-5. In 1/72 scale, for the NF-5 type, the best kits are from ESCI /Revell re-issue. In 1/48 there was an old Fujimi kit, but AFV has nowadays much better models.

In 1/32 scale Belcher Bits has a NF-5A conversion set for a 1/32 kit F-5E to convert into a NF-5A. (TIP: look for a build report at the site of one of our members, Meindert [ external link] ).

TAN Model from Turkey announced for 2017 a whole new series of 1/32 F-5 kits (let's wait and see what happens...)

The Netherlands Air Force used the NF-5. Enthusiasts, modellers and historians can see more NF-5 info at our Dutch NedMil pages here....

 

 

This walkaround web page was first created July 2013