frame 1    frame 1    Força Aerea Brasileira / Brazilian Air Force
Roundel            Fin flash            Credit:  Roundels of the world

                                        Last update 27-04-22

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                                                       Brazilian_Bases

PROCUREMENT
Brazil expressed for the first time at the beginning of 1965 interest to buy 24 Northrop F-5A and F-5B to be delivered starting in 1966, but, as for so many South American countries, no export authorisation was
granted by the US government. The Chinese government offered in 1965 F-7M Airguards (a copy of the Mikoyan-Gureitch MiG-21-13).
Selection was in preference of Douglas A-4F, SEPECAT Jaguar, HS Harrier Mk.50 and Fiat G-91. A provisional total of 48 Lockeed TF-33A were instead bought.

The country changed its air doctrine from ground attack to air defence of the whole territorium in 1967, starting with a chain of radars.
Procurement of a new aircraft to supplant the remaining Lockheed TF-33A used in the fighter/ground support duties was taken again under consideration during 1967 and a commission (Commissaos de Estudos
para Aviao de Interceptaçao) was formed to find out the best suitable fighter.

According to a local paper discuusions were held with Canada for the purchase of 15 Canadair CF-5 to be delivered 1968, without results (probably a fake news as never reported locally).

The Northrop F-5 was evaluated again, sale of which was reluctantly approved by the US governement due to political issues, but quickly eliminated due to insufficent performances. Considered were the
GAMD Mirage III, English Electric Lightning, Lockheed F-104G and the Saab J-35. The Mirage IIIE was finally selected during 1970.

Finally, in July 1973 was officially announced the selection of the Northrop F-5E, after having considered since 1971 the Fiat G-91Y, GAMD Mirage IIIE, Lightning Mk.55, Saab J-35 and Mc Donnel F-4 (preferred bythe Air Force). A demonstration by F-5E serial 01401 was given on September 1973 at Embraer's factory of Sao José dos Campos. Selected and ordered were additionally 16 Mirage IIID/EBR.
On 30-09-73 a contract was signed with Northrop and in October 1974 36 Northrop F-5E "Tigers" single-seaters and 6 Northrop F-5B two-seaters (the Northrop F-5F was not yet built), without engines and other
equipment, were ordered under the program "Peace Amazon" at a cost of USD 115m.Though Brazil preferred a commercial contract to gain procurement and management experience, a Foreign Military Sales credit
of USD 72.3 millions was arranged for part-payment and further equipment for 47.7 millions was acquired separately under direct purchase. They were to equip 2 Esquadraos (Squadrons) at Santa Cruz AB and
1° Esquadrao at Canoas AB; two Northrop F-5B were to be attached to each Squadron for conversion training.

Thirty Brazilian Air Force personnel worked for more than two years at the Hawthorne plant to gain experience on latest manufacturing techniques and to maintain Brazilian interests. First Brazilian aircraft was a
Northrop F-5B.
Additional aircrafts were to be possibly procured to re-equip the 4° GrAv and the 10° GtAv, but usual budget restrictions made this impossible. Second thoughts about the purchase of the F-5Bs, due to funding
problems and the Air Forces preference to buy the new Northrop F-5F for more compatibility, had aroused in 1974 but US officials convinced the Brazilians that the aircafts were sorely needed because the majority
of its pilots were to transit from vintage or low performance vehicles, like the Lockheed T-33A, the Cessna T-37C and the Embraer T-26 Bandeirante, to the high performance F-5E.

To still save money and to trimm requirements for ground technicians the FAB decided at the beginning of 1975 to equip only two Squadrons, both at Santa Cruz AB, at least for that year.


Air defence was foreseen as main mission, ground attack as secondary mission. A reconnaissance capability was also foreseen, for which 6 (some sources mention 4) camera noses were procured, 12 aircrafts had
provision for these noses. The noses were received in 1975 when they were installed on four Tigers; a reconnaissance course was given by two expert USAF pilots at Santa Cruz AB to 1°/14° pilots. The aircrafts
were transferred to Canoas AB upon completition of the runway remaining at disposal for the 1°/14° Escuadrao, but the idea was to create the 2°/14° Escuadrao in the same hangar as 1°/14° Escuadrau to operate
the 4 reconnaissance aircrafts. The programm was cancelled, the noses were sold as scrap and the reconnaissance duty was transferred to the Embraer/Aermacchi A-1 based at Santa Maria

On 15-07-75 an off-set deal for a total value of USD 1.2m covering the production of 150 sets of tail units and underwing/center-fuselage weapons pylons for Tigers built in USA, was also signed by the Brazilian
company Embraer,
which was to undertake all major overhauls of Brazilian F-5's.  Discussions for the possibility of licence manufacture of the entire airframe as follow-up of the EMB-326 were also held, without exit.

frame 1  frame 1          Photo: Embraer
                                                                           Underwing pylon buit under licence by Embraer

An agreement between General Electric and the Brazilian company Celma at Petropolis (RJ) provided for the overhaul of J-85-GE-13D and -21 engines.
Depot and light overhaul of the aircrafts was to be performed by the Air Force's Sao  Paulo Air Depot, while S. Cruz AB was to take care of field and light maintanance.

A first group of 5 pilots started training in USA, at Williams AFB with the 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, during the summer of 1974 a complete course lasting six months; other 5 followed during September 1974.
Of these, 6 qualified as instructors to form a training unit at S. Cruz AB, using F-5Bs. The first intake completed training by 12-74 having flown around 80 hours. Later Brazilian pilots, sometimes having followed only
a 16 weeks' course and with minimal F-5 experience, were in charge for the transfer from USA to Brazil.

frame 1 Photo: unknown      frame 1
Final checks at the Northrop Palmdale plant before delivery, Northrop F-5B 4800, of note                                Northrop F-5B 4805 a Williams AFB in May 1975. Squadron badge is not yet painted on tail
four underwings pylons and unusual Brazilian flag on rudder.                                                                       Photo: Archives F-5 Enthisast

On 28-02-75 Northrop handed over the first 3 F-5B at Palmdale to the Brazilian AF, arrivals in Brazil began in March 1975, when the first 3 Northrop F-5B (serials 4800/4801/4802) landed at Galeao AB on 06-03-75,
followed on 13-05-75 by the final 3 F-5Bs, always at Galeao AB.
The delivery flight of all Northrops' followed the route Palmdale/Williams AFB/Kelly AFB/Craig AFB/Homestead AFB/San Juan (Portorico)/Port of Spain/Panama before finally landing in Brazil at Belem, flying on to Anapolis
and Galeao Air Base (Rio de Janeiro).
It operated initially from there and from July 1975 from Anapolis AB, as the runway at Santa Cruz AB was very short, barely long enough for the Lockeed T-33A. Transfer to  Santa Cruz AB was on 03-10-75 when the
runway had been prolongued to 2'450 meters.

                             
Northrop F-5E serial 4850 seen 1975 in California armed with Sidewinder AIM-9P Sidewinder                         Northrop F-5E 4823 at Williams AFB in May 1975, shortly before delivery.
(version never adopted by the Brazilian AF), without air-to-air refuelling probe.      Photo: Northrop                                                                                                                          Photo:rchives F-5 Enthusiast

Next delivery were F-5E 4850/4851/4852. The first 2 landed at Galeao AB on 17-06-75 (some sources state there were four aircrafts delivered on 12-06-75) but serial 4852 was lost at Belford Rox shortly before
landing, due to bird strike.

Further deliveries followed at approximately four a month until 28th February 1976, when serials 4852 to 4855 safely landed at Santa Cruz AB (some sources state 12-02-76); delivery were in-flight, starting from
Williams AFB with twelve stops, including Zandery (Surinam) and Anapolis, ending at Rio de Janeiro-Galeâo, accompanied by a Lockheed C-130H support aircraft.
See the serials page for additional known delivery details.
    frame 1       frame 1
    Line-up of first batch Northrop F-5E at Santa Cruz AB               Photo: Brazilian AF           Northrop F-5E 4834 of the 1°/14° Esquadrao, fully armed with two Mectron MAA-1 and four 250 lbs bombs                                                                                                                                                                  
Two Lockheed KC-130H were bought to extend the rather limited radius of action of the Tiger; the F-5E's were equipped with air-to-air refuelling probes, but only 13 probes were fitted in USA, the rest in 1976 after
arrival in Brazil.

An Chilean offer (unconfirmed and denied by Chile) to transfer its own F-5Fs in exchange for Brazilian responsability to train Chilean F-5 pilots was not accepted as politically unacceptable due to Chilean human rights
policy.

The acquisition of additional second-hand aircrafts was taken into consideration during 1980, without follow-up. A Chinese barter offer of CAIC F-7 each in exchange of 2 Embrer Tucano during the 1980's was not
accepted.


On 28-12-85 an unexpected announcement from Brasilia revealed that approval had been given for the procurement of a further Northrop F-5E/F to make good attrition and in order to concentrate all "original" aircrafts
at Santa Cruz AB. These were to be completely refurbished aircrafts.
An appealing offer was received from South Korea, where the airframes would have been modified to zero time and updated to latest standard, but unfortunately not accepted due to costs problems. Further investiga-
tions to obtain lower priced fighters led to the evaluation of Chinese F-7M Airguards and Mirage III from several sources, all dropped for various reasons.

The US government offer in 1988 for 22 F-5E and 4 F-5F for USD 113.5m (named programm "Peace Amazon II") was successful. Eleven of these came from former USAF aggressor Squadrons in USA, whose disband-
ment was started in August 1988 and completed in April 1989, and fifteen from the 425th Squadron, disbanded in April 1989. They were not equipped with an air-to-air refuelling probe. The aircrafts were used first to
train  Brazilian pilots in USA.

The first five departed from Nellis AFB on 29-09-88, the last ones on 23-08-89, all from Homestead AFB with final destination Canoas AB in five waves. Brazilian pilots ferried them in 8 stretches, supported by a KC-137
precious to keep contact with the civilian air traffic authorities along the route as the fighters were not equipped with VHF radios.
The fourth wave left end April 1989 and was formed by Northrop F-5E FAB 4858, 4861, 4871, 4873 all in original Air Defence Command colours; they arrived Canoas AB on 10-05-89 (due to some mishaps on route)
flying from AFB Homestead to Nassau/Roosevelt Roads/Ilha Margarita (Venezuela)/Boa Vista (Brazil)/Manaus/ Belém/Fortaleza/Salvador/Rio de Janeiro/Canoas.

Unfortunately these "new" aircrafts were in poor conditions, needed a thorough overhaul and the installation of a VOR, GPS and VHF radio.

                                                                                      frame 1
                                                                     The last Northrop F-5F, serial 4809, seen in USA with its former serial (40457) at
                                                                     Williams AFB in August 1989

Frame 1             frame 1     Photo: FMagalhes
               F-5E with dual Brazilian/USAF serials 4859/1386 at Williams on 14-04-89.                      Northrop F-5E 4873 seen from the accompanying Boeing KC-137 on its delivery flight near to
                                                                Photo: archives The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast                 NAS Roosevelt Roads (Puerto Rico) in April 1989, still in USAF colours, but Brazilian serial.

All "new" aircrafts went to the 1°/14° GAv at Canoas AB (Porto Alegre), the only Tiger Squadron now exclusively tasked with air defence, though the basic Emerson APQ-153 radar was of limited value. The "original"
aircrafts were returned to the 1° Grupo de Caça.

                                                                        frame 1
                                                                     Northrop F-5 4857 4870 in original USAF colours, as delivered, in use by the 1°/14° Esquadrao.

Short range for the enorm Brazilian county was always a problem for the Northrop fighter; purchase of air-to-air refuelling aircrafts helped to lessen the problem.

                                                                       
                                                                      Northrop F-5E 4854 of the Primero Grupo de Aviacào de Caça on 14-08-80 after its emergency
                                                                      landing on a road in the State of Minas Gerais

Simulator
A former GE Training Center Compuscene III simulator with visual display dome was bought at the beginning of the 1990s to lower training costs, keep airframes flying hours and maintenance costs low.


Northrop F-5B saga
Operation of the early Northrop F-5B was slowed downwhen the more advanced F-5F were received. By the end of July 1995 only 2 F-5B remained operational. The Brazilian Northrop F-5Bs were withdrawn from use
on 22-05-96; they were all up for sale and transferred to Campo de Marte for storage.
A rather unhappy story followed. Former Brazilian AF colonel Gustavo Adolfo Franco Pereira bought the 5 aircrafts at an auction in 1996 for the price of USD 3.1 millions and paid a deposit of 155 millions Reals, trans-
action financed by an American friend, Richard Boulais. Mr Pereira even bought an hangar at Canpo de Marte to store the trainers. The auction was cancelled auctions, a direct sale was also done and again cancelled;
the aircrafts were never handed over to the (almost) new owner.
The main problem was the "end user certificate" required by the USA as the aircafts were of US origin, need for which the buyer didn't recognise, as the US law regarding it was approved in 1976 while the aircrafts
were bought by Brazil in 1973.
In the meantime the two-seaters had lost their serials and any inscription, were coded from 1 to 5 and repainted, with the upper surfaces dark grey, the lower surfaces in clear grey.
They were used as mobile static exhibition objects, as shown on this picture taken at Campo de Marte on 23-10-05. Photo: spotter.com.br

                                                      
           All aircraft were temporarely stored at Campo de Marte,  serials 4 and 4 seen here on 24-10-10.        Serial 4802 already repainted in the original camouflage together with older, all grey ones

Mr Pereira discussed its rights as owner with the Air Force ever since 1996 when unsecsful sale was foreseen by USA broker as FOB Mojave, total less than 2600 hours total time, Disassembled and professonally
crated, engines not included, military aviionics, all weapons and weapons systems removed prior to delivery.

He applied in December 2006 to the Brazilian justice to obtain either the aircrafts or refund of his down-payment. The Federal Court finally judged that the aircrafts still belonged to the Air Force and  they were
put on exhibition at various places.


Fate of others are known: serial 4802, camouflaged, as a travelling exhibit; 4804 mountd on a pole in Rio de Janeiro-Galeao airport; serial 4805 at Santa Cruz AB mounted on a pole, camouflaged.

Fleet upgrading and search for additional aircrafts
A new project regarding the rest of the fleet was launched during the year 2001: upgrading the available aircrafts to a fourth generation fighter standard; this resulted in the Embraer/Northrop F-5EM and F-5FM
models.

You can read details of the project under the Northrop F-5 Enthusiast page titled upgrades.

The Air Force also realised that the number of trainers (3 F-5F) was insufficent for conversion and refresher training of new and old pilots. As the Embraer/Aermacchi EMB-326 was officially withdrawn from use on
02-10-10 new pilots passed directly from the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano to the Embraer/northrop F-5FM, necessitating an greater number of this last.

Additional new aircrafts (both in double- and singleseater form) were to be operated by a new Operational Conversion Unit. During the year 2002 it looked among other F-5 operators for the best aircrafts available
for sale.


A first offer of Saudi Arabian Tigers by Boeing, demanding the purchase of 2 F-5Es for every F-5F purchased was rejected. Swiss top maintained Northrop F-5Es were also up for sale, but no F-5F was available. Help
came
from Northrop/Grumman's subsidiary Tiger Century Aircraft which had already projected to convert China/Taiwan AF single- to double-seaters and offered to convert 8 of the 16 Swiss aircrafts into two-seaters.
Memorandums of Understanding were signed on 30-09-02 and 15-10-02 between the Swiss "Gruppe für Rüstungsdienste" (Armament Group) and the Brazilian AF. Price for each aircraft was to be USD 0.5m "as-is".
The
Brazilian AF cancelled, in a change of mind, the plan to modify single- to two seaters and requested on 14-01-03 the sale of Swiss F-5Fs. An offer for 2 F-5Fs and 14 F-5Es was of no interest to the Brazilian side.
Finally,
on 01-04-03, a new search for 8 F-5F airframes was started with Singapore, Korea, China/Taiwan as well as Saudi Arabia.
                  
Three Northrop F-5F and six F-5E from Saudi Arabia were selected and a contract was signed on 29-12-05 between the Brazilian Aeronautical Commission in Washington and the company C&C International, acting as
a
mediator, for the price of USD 24m to be paid in three instalments of USD 10m in 2006, USD 13m in 2007 and USD 1m in 2008. Brazilian pilots were to fly them from Riyadh to Recife via Dakar and other stations.

No information about the status of the deal or the arrival in Brazil of these aircrafts was given until the end of September 2009, when, surprise!, an official announcement informed that a contract had been signed for
the acquisition of 4 Northrop F-5E, 4 F-5EM (which had received locally a limited upgrade) and 3 Northrop F-5F from Jordan for USD 21m, through the mediator Jordan Aeronautical Systems Company.The announce-
ment
gave also information about the cancelled Saudi purchase: the aircrafts were in poor condition; there was difficulty in obtaining "end-user" certificate needed according to the original pruchasing contract and the
possi
bility that these planes might not be available, as they were part of the new Saudi Eurofighter purchase contract.


A first batch of 3 F-5Es arrived at  Sao Paulo-Guarulhos airport on 19-08-08 on board an Volga-Dnepr Air Lines  AL An-124-100, still in Jordanian colours, together with several spare parts, inclusive wing tanks; all
were transferred to Campo dos Alfonsos AB for maintenance.
It was planned to invest 276 millions Reals for modifications, in order to keep them operational at least for another 15 years.

                                                             frame 1
                                                                         Former Jordanian Northrop F-5E still in desert camouflage, with last two of Brazilian serials,
                                                                         almost unreadable Jordanian and USAF serials at PAMA Campo dos Alfonsos maintenance base

Parque Material Aeronautico de Marte provides full structural and systems maintenance/overhaul on the Tiger, while complete General Electric J-85 engine maintenance has been undertaken since 2002 by Focal (RJ).

frame 1








    By the end of 2012 18 Tigers had been upgraded.The 46th and last first batch upgraded Northrop F-5EM was delivered to Santa Cruz AB,
    on 07-03-13; contract to upgrade the former Jordanian aircrafts was signed in 2012. The first ex Jordanian single-seater was delivered to
    Brazil in October 2013, while 2 double-seaters were delivered in November 2016.

    Defence of the Northern region aound the capital (Brasilia) was assured by some Embraer/Northrop F-5s from other bases, redeployed
    to Anapolis AB
when the early retirement took place (the end of 2013) of the Mirage 2000s used by the 1° Grupo de Defensa Aerea at
    Anapolis AB (Brasilia). The mentioned Tigers remained until the local pilots were re-trained on the Embraer/Northrop F-5EM and some own
    aircrafts were delivered
.

    Photo: Overfuselage/wings view of an Embraer F-5EM in new camouflage.









In 2011
it was decided that only three of all the eleven former Jordanian Northop F-5E/F were to be upgraded to Embraer/Northrop F-5FM standard, due to operational and budget (mainly) reasons. Only one two-
seater had been delivered in October 2014, additional two Embraer/Northrop
Embraer/Northrop F-5FM were received in October and November 2017. Most former Jordanian single-seaters were used as replacment,
pieces, some as museum exhibit (e.g Museu Aerospacial at Rio de Janeiro).


           Photo:  www.aereo.jor.br                               frame 1 
                                                                                    The last (serial 4812) former Jordanian Northrop F-5F being worked on at PAMA Sao Paulo                               
                                                                                    on 16-10-11. In the background single-seater 4810.                

Retirement (as of 2012) of the first Embraer/Northrop F-5EMs was planned by 2017 but indefinitely postponed, possibly till 2028. In the meantime TAP Manutençao e Engenheria Brasil takes care of base level  inspections/
maintenance o
f the Tigers; the first was delived to the company at the end of 2013 and re-delivered to the Air Force on 24-03-14 at Campo de Marte AB (PAMA SP) after having received the 600 hours inspection.
The Argentinian newspaper "Clarin" mentioned in August 2017 known contacts by Argentina and Brasil for the transfer of Embraer/Northrop F-5EMs for a certain period, but this was denied by the Brazilian Air Force.

Embraer completed its Tiger upgrade programm on 16-10-20 with the delivery of the last aircraft  (former Jordanian, local serial now 4810, see below), at Embraer's facility at Sao José dos Camps on 16-10-20. It was destined
to the ALA 3 at Canoas AB, Esquadrao Pampa, and transferred to its base on 21-11-20
.

                                                              Photo: Brazilian AF

                                                                                                             Air-to-Gound missile trials

                                                 
           Photo: Embraer
                                          Embraer/Northrop F-5EM 4826 testing MTC-300 Tactical Cruise Missile (developed in Brasil by Avibrasil) seen at Canoas AB,
                                          circa September 2019. The missile is not foreseen to arm Brazilian Embraer/Northrop F-5EM
.

Three former Jordanian Northrop F-5E (partially refurbished). serials 4878/4880/4884 were sold to the consulting company Aerosuport, based at Rio de Jneiro for the price of USD 29'000. Only the fuselage and
some parts of wings and stabilizer
were on offer (prices varying between USD 5'000 and 11'000).

                           
    Fuselage of aircraft Embraer F-5BR (interesting!) AV-0050 on date of auction                                               F.A. Brasileira serial 4878                              Photos: Joao Emilio

Embraer/Northrop F-5 replacement aircraft
The Embraer/Northrop F-5 and Embraer AMX/A-1 replacement programm, known as F-X2 competition, was launched in 2007. Participating to the long evaluation were Boeing FA-18E/F Super Hornet, Sukhoi  Su-35,
Dassault Rafale FJR,
Saab JAS-Gripen NG. This last (local designation F-39) was announced as winner at the end of 2013, mainly due to commerial reasons and transfer of technology to Brazilian industry. Twenty-eight
Gripen E asingle 
seaters and 8 Gripen F double-seaters were ordered initially flew for the first time on 26-08-19, as seen hereunder. The last is foreseen to be delivered in 2024. It first flew from Brazil on 24-09-20;
iinitial deliveries equip the 1° Grupo de Defensa Aerea (GDA) at Brasilia/Anapolis AB) here were the Saab F-39 concetrated.First four delivered was is foreseen in December 2021, starting to replace Embraer/Northrop F-5EM.

                                                                    
In-flight photo in Brazilian sky of first Brazilian F-39 with Embraer/Northrop F-5EM                       Old and new generation: simultaneous take-off from Brasilia of Embraer/Northrop F-5FM and Saab F-39
                                                                       
       Photo: Brazilian AF Sgt Johnson                                                                                                                                       Photo: Brazilian AF

                                                 
      Photo: Brazilian AF/ Sgt. Bianca
                                       Line-up of first line Brazilian AF aircrafts/helicopters; missing are Lockheed P-3 and Embraer A-1.

Four Embraer/Northrop F-5EM had been been withdrawn from use by March 2021; one Northrop F-5EM of the 1° Grupo de Aviacion de Combate made an emergency landing at S. Cruz AB on 31-05-21
suffering considerable damages were being withdrawn from use.


By the end of 2021 there were 47 Tigers available, around 38/40 were operational; the rest was on maintenace. Information stated that by beginning of April 2022 seven aircrafts were stored at PAMA Sao Paulo,
without plans to return them to  operation; of these 6 were single-seaters (1 former Jordan, 5 of the second (first) lot received) and one double-seater. These aircrafts included the first ever built Northrop F-5E,
Brazilian, serial 4874, and the Northrop F-5F serial 4806 whichhad an accident at S. Cruz AB on 05-07-16.

The Tiger equipped 1° Esquadrao/4° Grupo de Aviaçao "Pacau" was dissolved on 17-12-21, with the arrival in Brazil of the first two Saab F-39E (J-39E Gripen) on 01-04-22, delivered to the Centro de Ensaios em
Voo do Gripen (Gripen Flight Test Center
. Apart for Manaus AB a second Air Base is also foreseen to be equipped with Saab F-39 based, probably where at present Northrop's F-5s are operational. Two additional,
Gripen fighter are expected to be delivered during the first half of 2022
.

                                                               Photo: Brazilan AF
                                    Impressive line-up
on 22-04-22 of 18 Embraer/Northrop F-5EM, F-5FM at S. Cruz AB with Embraer A-1 (AMX)
                                    and S. Tucano for the "Dia da Aviaçao de Caça". In the background the enormous "Zeppelin" airship hangar.

Seen at PAMA Sao Paulo on 11-06-22 one Embraaer/Northrop F-5E (serial 4871) possibly withdrawn from use (or awaiting maintenance). It has markings of the
1°/14° GAv