Rollout of the new F-5F "Franken-Tiger"
(761586) at Northrop Grumman’s plant in St
Augustine, FL 4/23/08
4/16/2009 - NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, Patuxent
River, Md.—A NAVAIR and Northrop Grumman team designed
and built three F-5F Franken-Tiger Adversary aircraft
to meet an urgent Fleet requirement.
The F-5F Franken-Tiger was built using parts from a
Navy two-seat F-5F Tiger II aircraft and from
single-seat, former Swiss Air Force, F-5E aircraft.
“A Fleet requirement came into our office in late
September 2005 asking for more F-5 Adversary pilots to
staff a new squadron being established at Naval Air
Station Key West, Florida.” said Jay Bolles, Adversary
Aircraft program manager (PMA-207). “We needed a new
two-seat trainer in order to meet this requirement.”
The four remaining Navy F-5F Tiger II’s were too
costly to maintain, had very little service life left
and needed to be retired, added Bolles. One of the
Navy F-5Fs was lost in a mid-air collision on June 13,
2008 so there were only three left to convert.
“Our program office was already working with our
industry partner to convert 41 newer, former Swiss Air
Force F-5E aircraft and older Navy F-5E Adversary
aircraft into new F-5Ns,” said Bolles. “So building
the Franken-Tigers was a natural extension.”
This is how the Franken-Tigers were created, he said.
“Very simply, we took the two-seat cockpit section
and the tail section of the old Navy F-5Fs and bolted
these on to the newer center section of the former
Swiss F-5Es,” said Bolles. “The conversion work took
approximately two years to complete and was a model of
cooperation between NAVAIR and our industry partner,
Northrop Grumman. The Block I Avionics upgrade, the
LN-260 Inertial Navigation Unit and the cockpit
display unit was also included in the baseline
configuration, vastly improving navigation and pilot
situational awareness. We will deliver 41 F-5Ns and
three F-5F Franken-Tigers on time and on budget.”
The first Franken-Tiger made its maiden flight on
November 25, 2008 and was delivered to Marine Fighter
Squadron, Training 401 (VMFT-401) at Marine Corps Air
Station, Yuma, Ariz., on December 9, 2008.
The second Franken-Tiger was delivered to Fighter
Composite Squadron 111 (VFC-111) at NAS Key West,
Fla., in December 19, 2008 and the third is scheduled
to be delivered to VFC-13 at NAS Fallon, Nev., in
Source: USN Press Release