NORTHROP F-5/F-20/T-38. The F-5 series, an all-out air superiority fighter. Declassified documents illuminate the story of USAF F-5s combat-tested in Vietnam. A WarTech pictorial with 35 color and 250 b/w photos.
NORTHROP F-5/F-20/T-38. WarBird Tech series. In the late 1950s, an era when some Cold War allies still flew cast-off World War II propeller-driven bombers and fighters, Northrop seized on the need to deliver modern warplanes with modest maintenance requirements. The shapers of American foreign policy needed an economical way to give allies supersonic performance. The U.S. Air Force and Navy only tangentially used the F-5, but decades of new American fliers honed their skills on the similar T-38 variant, a high-performance training aircraft. The F-5, an all-out air superiority fighter, possesses remarkable performance to match its classy good looks.
It has served U.S. allies (and a few former allies like Iran) for decades. Many still fly, including F- 5Es, F-5Fs, and modified F-5Ns used by the U.S. Navy as aggressor training aircraft at its famous Top Gun school. The T-38 carries the sleek lines into the training world. And the powerful singleengine F-20, the ultimate iteration of this Northrop line, brought the basic F-5 premise forward into a new era.
Vintage and modern photos in this WarbirdTech volume depict the F-5, T-38, and the few F-20s in many guises; technical drawings and detail photos show the inner workings. Declassified documents illuminate the story of USAF F-5s combat-tested in Vietnam. Color photos capture variations in camouflage and markings since 1959. The enduring story of the Northrop F-5 series and the aircraft it spawned is overdue and timely for an audience that increasingly seeks reliable information and photos about Cold War aircraft.