Turkish Air Force  / Türk Hava Kuvvetleri

                        Credit:  Roundels of the world
Roundel till 1972                  Roundel from 1972

                          Last update 18-09-13

Data written in blue are subject to confirmation

                

The Turkish Order of Battle involving operation of Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighters can be divided in two periods: the first are the years  between 1966 and 1972 and the second from 1972, when an Air Force reorganisation took place, till present.

The whole Air Force organisation was streamlined in 1972 by renumbering and shuffling its units.
Several Squadrons changed their numbers; the second digit coincided with the number of the Ana Jet Üs (Main Jet Base) where they were stationed:
1nci AJÜ at Eçkisehir, 3nci AJÜ at Konya, 4nci AJÜ at, 5nci AJÜ at Murted, 6nci AJÜ at Bandirma, 8nci AJÜ at Diyarbakir, 9nci AJÜ at Balikesir. The first Filo (Av-Bombardiman Filosu) of each AJÜ was in charge of air-to-ground missions with air defence as a secondary role; the second (Av-Onleme Filosu) reverses the role.

Statutory strength was 18 single- and 2 double-seaters, but this could vary considerably, according to aircrafts availability.

No Squadron badge at were painted on aircrafts, only the last five digits of the serial in black making it impossible to determinate the unit they belonged.

                 
      Four Northrop F-5A with old nationality markings flying along the Mediterranean coast.

Only four serials were shown later on the tail when camouflage was added early 70s and the serial was painted in white on some aircrafts.

                   

                        White serial on Northrop F-5B 5-777/00777 at Merzifon AB in 1988.
 
                                                                                                 Photo: P. Steinemann

Main Jet Base number on the nose was added from 1983, making it still impossible to determinate to which Squadron the aircaft was assigned, except when it participated to a Squadron exchange or to a visit abroad. It was at least possible to deduct where it was based.
The base number was deleted in 1999; only the last five of the serial was shown on the tail. Finally, there was no problem later when the
133 Squadron became the only operational/training F-5 equipped unit in 2007.

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Pre 1972 Air Force organistation - Filo (Squadrons)

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Early 1960s Filo (Squadrons)

  142 Filo - Merzifon AB 

Equipped with Canadair F-86E(M) in 1964, it remained without equipment until December 1965 when it started to operate the Freedom Fighter acting as an Operational Conversion Unit for the other Squadrons re-equipping on the aircraft; up to 20 Northrop F-5A and 2 F-5B were in use by the unit. Its role was changed in 1967 to air-defence.

The Squadron was renumbered 151 Filo in 1972 following the Air Force reorganisation.
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  143 Filo - Merzifon AB - Name: Öncel Filo

Formerly equipped with Canadair F-86E(M) Sabre it remaind without equipment when this was withdrawn from use in 1964; it was the last to convert to the Northrop F-5 in 1968 with the final lot of USA/MAP transferred Northrop fighter.

The Squadron was renumbered 152 Filo in 1972 following the Air Force reorganisation.
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 161 Filo -  Bandirma AB 

This was the last unit flying Republic F-84G; it started to convert as the second unit on Northrop F-5A and F-5B on 03-01-66 for air defence duties, finally retiring its former (F-84F) equipment in June 1966, tranferring it to the 8 AJÜ at Diyarbakir.

The 161 Squadron was not renumbered in 1972.

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163 Filo  - Bandirma AB
Was
equipped was with Republic F-84F upgarded to F-84Q started from 1964 till 1968; it started to convert to the Northrop F-5A for the fighter-bomber role in 1967.

The unit was selected to operate also in the reconnaissance role and ten Northrop RF-5A were received 1969/70 to form a new flight. At the same time
8 Northrop F-5A were transferred to the 192 Squadron in order to retire its Republic F-84Q.
The strength was then 10 
fighter-bomber and 10 reconnaissance aircrafts.

The Squadron was renumbered 162 Filo in 1972 following the Air Force reorganisation.
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  192 Filo - Balikesir AB

Eight former 163 Filo Northrop F-5A were received in 1969/70 to supplant Republic F-84F upgarded to F-84Q, kept in use till 1970 when the unit was operational whith the new aircraft.

Ten new built Northrop RF-5A were also received at the same time, forming a reconnaissance Flight. The Squadron establiment was then 10 fighter-bomber and 10 reconnaissance aircrafts.

The Squadron was not renumbered in 1972.

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1972 Air Force reorganistation - Ana Jet Üs (Main Jet Base) / Filo (Squadrons)

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  3.ncü Jet Egitim Ana Üssü  (3rd Main Jet Training AB) -  Konya AB

Photos shown hereunder are of aircrafts belonging to local based Squadrons; unfortunately it is not possible to determinate to which one.


In-flight view of Northrop F-5A 13339 and 21256 in October 2000.

                                                       Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast
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  132 Filo Jet Egitim Ana (Main Jet Training)
  132 Filo Taktik-Akrobasi (Tactics - acrobatics) (till 1994)
  132 Filo Silah Taktokleri Ve Standardize 
    (Weapons tactics and standardisation)

 
Name: Hançer (Dagger)

One flight was equipped originally with Republic F-84F, this
flight was re-equipped with Northrop F-5A and F-5B in 1974.

A second flight was equipped with North American F-100C, F-100D, F-100F replaced by former USAF McDonnell F-4E in 1988.

The Squadron was disbanded following this re-equipment, but the unit was re-established in 1989
Squadron with both the Northrop F-5A, F-5B and McDonnell F-4E and in 1991 its duties were Weapons and Tactics Training.

               
Northrop F-5B 3-592/10592 at Konya in June 1990  Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


Canadair NF-5As and NF-5Bs reached Squadron on 21-11-90 and it was re-designated Weapons Tactics and Standardisation Training Squadron; the other flight kept its McDonnell F-4E.

Turkish AF Headquarter decided on 11-09-92 to establish an acrobatic team within the unit. This was the beginning of a very successful story of the future "Türk  Yildizlari (Turkish Stars)". See below for details.

The Canadairs were transferred
in 2007 to the 133 Filo when 132 Filo standardized on General Dynamics F-16C, F-16D Block 40.
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                133 Filo  Name: Pençe (Claw)
Badge on grey, not updated aircrafts

The 153 Filo Squadron's aircrafts were transferred from Merzifon AB to Konya AB between the 5th and 8th October 1988, when it was renumbered 133 Filo, taking over its Operational Conversion role with 7 Northrop F-5A and 2 F-5B.

By July 1991 it had received former Dutch Canadair NF-5A and NF-5B , delivered to Turkey between between September 1989 and October 1992, to be used together with Northrop built Freedom Fighters.

The Squadron sent in January 1996 its aircrafts (armed with AIM-9 Sidewinders and air-to-ground ammunition) to a Western Turkey Base during the Imia Island crisis, both Turkey and Greece claiming soveireignity over the island in Greek possion. They returned to Konya AB 03-02-96, when the crises ended. The Filo obtained an operational air-defence role following this crise.


Northrop F-5A 3-333/13333 at Konya AB in July 1993.
   Archive: the Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

               
                Northrop F-5A 3-383/13383 at Konya AB.



Northrop F-5B 21283 with underfuselage bomblets awaiting its pilot for an exercise
on 28-04-99 at Konya AB.
                                                  Photo: Chistoph Kugler

               
          Northrop F-5A 13339 at Konya on 28-04-99                     Photo: Chistoph Kugler


Canadair NF-5A 3-041 and unusual full serial 70-3041 on tail at Konya AB in June 1990.
                                                                       Archive: the Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

               
    Northrop NF-5B 3-014/3014 seen on 08-07-93 still with old R. Netherlands AF camouflage

                                                                                                          Photo: Paolo Rollino



        Canadair NF-5A 3032 on a line-up at Konya AB on 08-07-93.

                                                                              Photo: Paolo Rollino


               
                           Canadair NF-5A 3032 at Konya AB on 28-04-99, in the background 3058.
                                                       Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiat


Canadair NF-5A 4019 at Konya on 28-04-99, serial 4026 in the background.
                                                       Photo: archive the Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


At least fifteen Northrop F-5A, two Northrop F-5B, 5 Canadair NF-5A and 5 Canadair NF-5B were in use in October 2000.

               
      Canadair NF-5B 4021 seen at Cigli on 03-06-01 in grey colour and Squadron badge on tail.

                                                       Photo: archive the Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

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  Standard Northrop F-5A and F-5B
and Canadair NF-5A an NF-5B were replaced
  by upgraded
Canadair NF-5A-2000 and NF-5B-2000 between July 2002 and
  November 2005. Simulator training and F-16 flying style in formation, bombs
  dropping, Sidewinders firing and night flying was teached.



In flight picture of 2 Canadair NF-5A-2000 and 132 Squadron companions F-4 Terminator.
                                                                                                    
 Photo: Turkish AF

The units' complement was reduced during the course of the years: 
one was lost on 27-06-06; a hard shock was the involountary damage/destruction with a bomb during an exercise by a pilot in training of three Canadair NF-5A-2000 in 19-10-05 at Konya AB.

               
                                                                                   Photo: Turkish Jandarma
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Fleet reduction / Unit disbandment

Time has now gone for the Squadron: it was disbanded as last Filo operating the Canadair NF-5s at the end of July 2013; there were 11 aircrafts operational at the time.

Ten former 133 Squadron aircrafts were kept for use by the 134 Squadron/Turkish Stars. All others are to be cannibalised at Eçkisehir AB for spare parts to keep the acrobatic team flying, while e Lead-in Fighter training role has been taken over by modernized Northrop T-38Ms belonging to the 122nd Filo, a training unit, in order to lower costs.
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    5.üncü Ana Jet Üssü  -  5th Main Jet Base   -  Merzifon AB
Its Squadrons were each equipped with approximately 18 Northrop F-5A, RF-5A (former Diyarbakir aircrafts having been replaced by General Dynamics F-16s) and 2 Northrop F-5B in the 90s.
The RF-5As were used as fighter-bomber by the 151 and 152 Filo where they were transferred.

Photos shown hereunder are of aircrafts belonging to local based Squadrons, but not possible to determinate which one.

  Photo: P. Steinemann
Northrop F-5A 5-249/21249 seen in June 1990; note AIM-9B on wingtip.

               
           Special duty Northrop F-5A 5-567/10567 at Konya in 1993, used as a target tug.
                                                           Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


All silver Northrop F-5A 5-370/13370 in June 1990 with target under the wing.

                                                           Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

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 151 Av.-bomardiman (fighter-bomber) / Kesif (reconnaissance) Filo  Name: Tunç (Bronze)

The Squadron originated from the 142 Filo, when it was renumbered in 1972 following the Air Force reorganisation; it operated in the tactical support role.

The unit was equipped with Northrop F-5A, F-5B till 1996 when it was re-equipped with F-16C, F-16D Block 50. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-    152 Av.-bomardiman (fighter-bomber) Filo  Name: Akinci (Raiders)

The Squadron originated from the 143 Filo in 1972 and the 153 Filo, when this last was renumbered in 1988; its primary role was tactical support.

This unit was disbanded in 1997 ro be re-activated beginning 1999 with General Dynamics F-16C Block 50, F-16D Block ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
153 Filo
This was a short-lived Freedom Fighter Squadron, having originally being re-numbered from the
Şafak Kita (Operational Conversion Unit - see below) in 1987, but disbanded already in 1988, its aircrafts transferred to the 133 Filo. ======================================================================

 6.üncü Ana Jet Üssü  -  6th Main Jet Base   -  Bandirma AB
Unfortunately photos of aircrafts based at the 6th Main Jet Base are rare, here is No
rthop F-5B 6_590/10590
written-off 19-09-86
.

               
                                                                                    
  Photo: unknown

 161 Filo Av.-bomardiman (fighter-bomber) Filo   Name: Yarasa (Bat)

The 161 Squadron continued to fly the Northrop F-5 on air defence duty from Bandirma AB till 1983; former German AF/Marine Lockheed F-104G and TF-104G were received starting from 1981. It had already changed its role to ground attack on 01-07-74/79.
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 162 Av.-bombardiman (fighter-bomber)/Kesif (reconnaissance) Filo   Name: Zipkin (Harpoon)
The Squadron was the former 163 Filo, renumbered in 1972 following the Air Force re-organisation, keeping the Northrop F-5A and RF-5A ground-attack/reconnaissance versions and receiving 12 new built Northrop RF-5A in 1974; mid-76 it received former 192 Filo Northrop RF-5A when this was re-equipped with new Fiat/lockheed F-104S.

Former Norwegian Lockheed RF-104G started to replace the Northrop aircraft in May 1983; its Northrop F-5A and RF-5A reconnaissance aircrafts were passed on to the 184 Filo in 1984. Some sources state that the Norergian Starfighters were received starting from 1982.
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 163 Filo Av.-bombardiman (fighter-bomber)

Equipped with Republic F-84Q till 1968 when it was disbanded an re-established in June 1984 with 8 Northrop F-5A, and 4 Northrop F-5B.

The Squadron was re-equipped with former 141 and 142 Filo Lockheed F-104G from 1989.

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 8.üncü Ana Jet Üssü  -  8th Main Jet Base   -  Diyarbakir AB

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 184 Taktik Jet Kesif (Tactical jet reconnaissance) Filo   Name: Aydin

This was a reconnaissance unit equipped with Republic RF-84F until July 1976, Northrop RF-5A were added in 1974.

Only
Republic RF-84F participated to the Cyprus crise with reconnaissance flights.

Former 162 Filo Northrop RF-5A were received in July 1976 to increase the number of Northrop aircrafts and replace the remaining Republic aircrafts; one/two Northrop F-5B were also available. Ground attack was its secondary role.

Six former Norwegian Northrop RF-5A were received by the beginning on 1988, while Lockheed RT-33A were added to the Squadron's strength between 1984 and 1994.

The Squadron is member of the NATO Tigers Association since 1980; it has sent observers to several meetings.


Northrop RF-5A 8-139/7139seen at Konya in July 1993 equipped with silver long-range tanks.
                                                                                                        Photo: Frank Smith


               
              Northrop RF-5A 8-147/7147 in September 1993 with xxxxx painted on nose.

                                                                           Photo: Frank Elsinga


Northrop RF-5A 8-194/21194 with underbelly rocket launchers.    
Photo: Soner Capoglu

               
 Northrop RF-5A 8-208/21208 at Diyarbakir in May 1994; in the background one Lockheed F-104.

                                                         Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


Northrop F-5B 8-033/1033 at Murted AB on 15-09-93.

                                          Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

Ex German AF McDonnel RF-4E belonging to the 173 Filo at Erhaç AB took over the Squadron's reconnaissance role in 1993, enabling the disbandment of this Squadron by 18-06-94 and the retirement of the Northrop RF-5A as a reconnaissance aircraft Its aircrafts were transferred to the 151 and 152 Filo.

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 9.üncü Ana Jet Üssü  -  9th Main Jet Base   -  Balikesir AB

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 192 Av.-bombardiman (fighter-bomber) / Kesif (reconnaissance) Filo   Name: Kaplan (Tiger)

Northrop F-5A were in use as fighter-bomber since 1970 (see above) remaining in use till 1976.

A new flight for high altitude reconnaissance was formed in 1974 using seven former Northrop F-5A converted to Northrop RF-5A standard.

The 192 Filo was disbanded in June 1975 transferring its reconnaissance aircrafts to the 6 AJÜ units at Bandirma, the Northrop F-5A to other units. It was reformed in July 1976 receiving new Fiat/Lockheed F-104S in September 1976; the role of the Squadron was  modified to pure air defence. 

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 Safak Kita  - Name: Buzzard
Operated as an Operational Conversion Unit from June 15th 1981 till 1987 when it was renumbered 153 Filo, being again renumbered as 133 Filo in 1988 (see above). ======================================================================

1. Hava Ikmal ve Bakim Merkezi (Air Supply and Maintenance Center) - Eçkisehir AB

This Center is specialised in depot level maintenance, overhaul, modification and modernization of all Turkish AF jet aircrafts.

It has overhauled during the years all Northrop Freedom Fighters and Canadair NF-5s, these last additionally modernised between 2000 and 2007.

  Photo: unknown
Canadair NF-5B being upgraded, in the background an McDonnell F-4 being also upgraded.

At present it stores and reduces to spares former 133 Filo Canadair NF-5A and NF-5B.
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