United States Air Force
 
                THIS IS A WIDELY KNOWN SUBJECT - ONLY THE MOST IMPORTANT DETAILS ARE REPORTED


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Pilots Training
Williams AFB, belonging to the Air Training Command, was selected in 1963 to be the key base for support and training on the Northrop F-5 for pilots and ground crew belonging to countries receiving it under Military Assistance Program or having bought the aircraft. The base was chosen because of maintenace commonality with the local based Northrop T-38s.
Only one Squadron (with different designations) has ever been
in charge for F-5 training. It was always based at Williams AFB, has changed designation several times, the same happened to its parent Wing.
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     4510th Combat Crew Training Wing
- Luke AFB
4441st Combat Crew Training Squadron - Williams AFB

The 4441st Combat Crew Training Squadron was established in December 1963 to be responsible to train Freedom Fighter pilots and maintenance personnel in a joint effort of both the Air Training and the Tactical Command.

First delivery of 4 Northrop F-5B to the newly formed 4441st Combat Crew Training Squadron took place on 30-04-64 at Luke AFB. The Squadron being based at Williams AFB due to commonability of maintenance and parts with the local Northrop T-38A; by mid 1965 the unit operated 7 Northrop F-5A and 5 F-5B. Operational readiness was at time around 70-80 percent.

 
Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast
Northrop F-5A 38421/FA-421 at Williams AFB in 1965
without the Tactical Air Command
badge on tail.


The first pilots training class started in September 1964; 6 were Iranian AF,  4 Korean AF and 2 USAF-Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG)
pilots. Only 21 students were trained in 1964.
During FY 1965 (01 October 1964/30th September 1965) 18 instructors and 9USAF/MAP countriesfighter pilots had been trained; 34 MAP countries pilots had attended flying training , of which were under instruction and 1 was a casualty.


Each country sent around 6 pilots (varying according to local necessity) to attend classes at Williams AFB. Training of F-5 personnel was a joint effort by Air Training and Tactical Air Command. Pilots underwent a 14 days aircraft familiarisation course given by Air Training Command's Field Training Detachment before transferring to the 4441st Combat Crew Training Squadron where they received 115 hours of classroom and 40-50 flight hours training (in 13 weeks), divided in some 15 hours on the double-seater and some 25 hours in the single-seater covering transition, formation flying, instrument flying, air-to-air and air-to-ground gunnery, missile operation and air combat manoeuvres.
A lot of dissimilar air-to-air mission were provided in 1965 (see Dissimilar Combat Training page) in 1965 during the 
"Featherduster exercise 1 Part 2 and 2 part 1" because a lot ofthe customers were interested in air defence.

Maintenance personnel was given 3 to 11 weeks field training and 2 to 8 weeks at Williams AFB before returning to their home country 60 to 90 days before the fighters were delivered.


Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) personnel (including at least one pilot) was stationed in each country receiving US Military Assistance and was in charge to organise the introduction of the fighter including spare provisioning, check suitability of bases etc

               
  In flight underfuselage view of
Northrop F-5A 38377 with two bombs.   Photo: Northrop

 



 

  



     
Photo: Wolfgang Jürges









Nothrop F-5A 38378 at Luke AFB in January 1966 already with the Tactical Air Command
badge on tail.                                                                        

 Tactical Air Command badge   
                                                 Tail colours:   first version

An important task was the transition of Republic of Vietnam AF522nd Fighter Squadron, Douglas A-1 Skyraider pilots to the Freedom Fighter; the first group of 33 pilots commenced training at Williams AFB in October 1966, they had completed training and were back in Bien Hoa AFB by June 1967. A special developed combat course for these pilots consisted in 92 flying hours in 102 days.

Code "LZ" was painted on tail of some aircrafts starting from 1968 orJuly 1969.

The unit was transferred to the Tactical Air Command in October 1969, see below for details.
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     58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing
- Luke AFB
          58th Tactica
l Training Wing - Luke

      425th TacticalTraining Squadron
                       
The 4441st Combat Crew Training Squadron was redesignated 425th Tactical Training Squadron on 22-08-69, reactivated on 15-10-69 upon transfer from Air Training Command to Tactical Air Command and assigned to the 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing; task remained the training of aircrews and support personnel as well as participation to operational and tactical exercises at Williams AFB for personnel of countries involved in Foreign Military Sales.

By the end of 1971 the unit had 14 Northrop F-5A and 6 Northrop F-5B assigned.

                   
Northrop F-5A 10264 of the
425th Tactical Training Squadron, note blue strip on tail and badge above
the inscription U.S. Air Force.                                        
Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast



Northrop F-5B 01408 at Williams AFB on 29-09-72 with blue stripe
, Tactical Air Command
badge
on tail and toned down 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing badge on nose.
                                                               Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


                       
                Northrop F-5B 72439 with SEA camouflage, LZ code, blue stripe on tail in May 1974.
                                                                    Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

   Photo: unknown
Northrop F-5A 38443 in 1969: the only
known aircraft with friend/foe fuselage stripes.
                                                              Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


               

        Northrop F-5B 20441 at Williams AFB on 14-09-77 with yellow/black stripes
, Tactical Air
        Command badge
on tail and coloured 405th Tactical Training Wing badge on nose.
                                                              Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


Northrop F-5B 01408 at Williams AFB in February 1980 with yellow/black stripes, Tactical Air
Command badge
on tail in slightly different position.
                                                                     Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

The first Northrop F-5E (serial 11419) was scheduled to reach Williams AFB in February 1973 but it was actually delivered on 06-04-73 only; on 30-06-73 there were 7 Northrop F-5E on strength, an additional 13 were planned to be received to reach full strength of 20 aircrafts.


A trio of fully bombs laden Northrop F-5Es on take-off at Williams AFB on 10-05-74. Of note
the yellow and the blue tail bands.
                                                                    Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

               
       Under wings and fuselage yellow stripes on this F-5E landing on 17-12-79 at Luke AFB

Code "LZ", painted on tail
of some Freedom Fighters and Tigers, was kept until changed to "LA" in 1974. This was the code for Luke AFB where the 58th TFTW was officially based, but where the Freedom Fighters have never been based.

Later,
on 01-04-77, the 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing was re-designated as 58th Tactical Training Wing, just to be again re-designated two years later 405th Tactical Training Wing, see below.
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          405th Tactical Training Wing 
- Luke AFB
     425th Tactical Training Squadron -  Williams AFB 
Hectic flight training activity at Luke AFB with McDonnel F-4, Lockheed F-104, McDonnell F-15 imposed the establishment of an additional Wing: the 405th Tactical Training Wing, activated on 29-08-79 was to operate the Northrop F-5 and McDonnell F-15 only; the 425th Squadron was integrated into the new Wing, though remaining at Williams AFB till the end of Northrop F-5 operation on 21-06-89.


Northrop F-5B 00441 at Williams AFB in March 1982 overall grey colours, LA code on tail
and underfuselage rocket launcher.
            Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

                       
                        Northrop F-5B 01408 in its third colours version (two tone blue) and LA code, Tactical
                        Air Command badge on tail but no 405th Wing badge on nose at Williams AFB on
                        30-03-83. In the backgroud an grey only painted example.      Photo: John Kimberley


Northrop F-5B 20440 in the second colours version (desert) and LA code, Tactical
Air Command badge on tail but no 405th Wing badge on nose at Williams AFB on
30-03-83, the same day as 01408 above.
                                                    Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


Purchase of the second generation Northrop F-5E, F-5F fighters by many additional countries necessitated an increase in strength to 24 aircrafts and, later, to even more.

By May 1985 had a fleet of 24 aircrafts. The Squadron received during the years up to 1986 a total of 17 Northrop F-5A and 15 F-5B, 23 Northrop F-5E and 9 F-5F.

               
Northrop F-5E 01393 acting as a target-tug for in-flight shooting training
   Photo: unknown

Main activity had been pilots training on the Tiger from mid-73 on; single seaters Northrop F-5A were redistributed  to various countries involved in US Military Assistance Programs, two-seater Freedom Fighters were kept until the last two were retired during a ceremony in February 1984. These were used as ground instruction airframes from July 1984.

Military Assistance Program Northrop F-5A flew during FY 1980 27 hours, F-5B 1'566 hours (97.6 percent availability for the two seater); no USAF Northrop F-5A were employed, F-5B flew 1'315 hours (102.4 percent availability)

Military Assistance Program Northrop F-5E flew during FY 1980 27'771 hours (104.1 percent availability), no MAP Northrop F-5F was available; USAF F-5E flew 495 hours (77.1 percent availability), USAF F-5F flew 6 hours.

A particular activity was the instruction
 of Saudi pilots and technicians, they participated in exercises in 1980 and 1981. These pilots were not allowed to fly  aircrafts under foreign markings during exercises. A compromise had to be sought and found: Saudi markings were painted next to US markings after or before the wings and on top of the tail. Northrop F-5B, Northrop F-5E and Northrop F-5F were utilised.


Northrop F-5B 72439 at Williams AFB in an unusual camouflage, with both USAF and Saudi markings.
                                                                                 Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

                
Northrop F-5E 00881 seen in March 1988 at Williams AFB on 23-02-88 unusually armed with active head AIM-9
Sidewinder and three tanks.
                                                                                Photo: HJ van Broekhuizen
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End of Northrop F-5 training activities

By March 1988 it was planned that twenty-one Tiger present at Williams AFB were to remain there through April 1989, three were grounded due to longerons crack and one due to inflight flight damage.
There were no funds available for the repair of this last and unknown disposition.
Inactivation of the Squadron was announced in January 1989,
training of the last class on Northrop F-5E was completed on 21-06-89 and the Squadron was definitely inactivated on 01-09-89. Aircraft maintenance contract with Northrop Worldwide Services was rescinded by the end of the same month.

Double-seaters
Freedom Fighters operated by the 425 TFTS were bought by Thailand (2), Turkey (3) while single-seaters Tigers were sold to Brazil, Honduras and Thailand.

By June 1989 1'499 pilots and technicians had graduated on Northrop F-5 at Williams; additionally, over 200 had received in own country, trained through deployment of Mobile Training Teams: Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, Greece, Iran, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Honduras, Kenya, Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, South Vietnam, Yemen, and, of course, the USAF.
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