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              LuftvorsvaretAir Force

                                        Last update 18-01-2021

   Norwegian Bases are divided in two categories:
   Main Air Station and Air Stations - as follows
   Bodo            Bodo Hovedflystasjon    (Main Air Station)
   Oslo         -
Gardermoen  Stasjon (Air Station)
Trondheim - Orland Hovedflystasjon  (Main Air Station)
Oslo          - Rygge Hovedflystasjon  (Main Air Station)
  Stavanger - Sola Stasjon (Air Station)

Type designation

      The Norwegian Northrop F-5A were initially designated F-5A(G), as can
       be clearly seen here, but the (G) fell in disuse with the time; we will
       to mention it in this page.

Codes / Serials / Fin flash
All aircrafts carried initially an unit code
(332 Sqn AH-, 334 Sqn RI-,336 Sqn PX-338 Sqn MU-, 717 Sqn AZ-, 718 Sqn DP-) plus an individual
code on the nose. The
tail had the code, the serial (without Fiscal Year), a yellow or white band under the antenna and, for a short time, the unit marking painted on.
30-08-72 all codes and full serials were cancelled, only the last three numbers of the serial remained on the tail; the individual aircraft code was kept for a short time on some aircrafts. This rendered the aircraft anonymous and it was now impossible to determinate at first sight to which unit the aircraft belonged.

This flash was originally carried by aircrafts of 331, 334, 338 and 717 Squadrons (Fotorek Wing) all based at Sola AB (Flygrouppe Sola) between 1951 and 1955. The Norwegian colours showed tht 334 Squadon (red) 338 and 717  Squadron (white) and 331 Squadron (white).
331 and 334 Squadron
. moved to Bodo in the summer 1955

331 and 334 Squadron moved to Bodo in the summer 1955 When 331 and 334 skv were moved to Bodø in the summer of 1955, they brought Sola nice flash to Bodø and Sola nice flash became Bodø nice flash. 338 skv moved to Ørland in the autumn of 1954 and got its own Fin flash. The planes on Bodø all had their new Bodø painted in a flash. With the introduction of the CF-104, 334 skv got red and white nice flash, while 331 skv kept Bodø nice flash. When the F-16 was phased in, all F-16 skv got their own colors on nice flash. 331 kept Bodø nice flash, while 334 kept red and white nice flash. 338 kept its black / yellow lightning and 332 skv got gold and white nice flash. Today, 332 skv / F-35 has retained a colorless Bodø nice flash. 331 skv F-16 will be phased out next year and 331 skv will be set up with F-35A on Ørland. I guess they get the same nice flash as 332 skv. Thus Ørland gets the same nice flash as Bodø, but colorless🇳🇴

Northrop F-5A 896 landing at Gütersloh AB (Germany) in March 1977 with green camouflaged
underwing plus partially camouflaged underbelly tanks.       Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Entusiast

Northrop F-5B 908 landing at Gütersloh AB (Germany) on 20-12-77, under a pale winter sun, with a full tank load;
note camouflaged higher part of  underwing tanks.                                                            Photo: W. Stolze

Skvadrons  (Squadrons)

332 Squadron

       Official badge                       Patch                           Tail markings in 1971
                    collection Tor-Willy Apeland

332 Skvadron was equipped with North American/Fiat F-86K when it was disbanded in August 1964.

It was reformed on 18-06-66 at
Rygge AB when it received its first Northrop F-5A(G), used as fighter-bomber and limited day-fighter as second Norwegian unit to use the Freedom Fighter.

Freedom Fighters were soon active in visiting other European contries, like 1 Northrop F-5A(G), 1 Northrop F-5B(G), at Eindhoven AB (Netherlands) on 12-02-68, F-5As AH-P 69210, F-5B  10594 at Chivernor (UK) on 22-08-69, as well as for Squadron exchanges: to Piacenza (Italy) on April 1970, Eindhoven AB (Netherlands) in March 1971 six Northrop F-5A(G) with Dutch 315 Squadron flying Republic F-84F.

Northrop F-5B AH-Z 10594 at Chivernor on 22-08-68, note early small Squadron badge on the tail.
                                                                       Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

               Northrop F-5A AH-P 69210
at Bierset in June 1969
                                                                                   Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

The Squadron's disbandment followed in December 1992, reformed as the General Dynamics F-16 OCU, first aircraft received in September 2001.

334 Squadron

    Official badge                       Patch                                Tail markings
                    collection Tor-Willy Apeland  

The unit was equipped with North American F-86K all-weather fighters
(last flight with the unit on 14-07-67) at Bodø AB when it started, between springtime and summer 1967, transitioning as third Squadron to the Northrop F-5B, F-5A fighter-bomber.
It received its first new aircraft F-5B on 11-04-67 followed by 2 F-5A on 08-05-67 and another two on 09-06-67. Full equipment of 18 single- and 2 two-seaters was reached in December 1970.

            Northrop F-5A RI-E 14905                                  Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

Its relationship with the Northrop fighter was relatively short as it was decided in 1972 to convert it to the Canadair CF-104 for anti-shipping duties. This started with the arrival at Bodø AB of the first aircraft in the spring of 1973, the Northrop F-5A(G)s being re-distribuated to other units between January and March 1974.

Northrop F-5s of the Squadron visited during the years several countries: Soesterberg AB (Netherlands) in 1968Eindhoven on 12-02-68, Wildenrath AFB 05-07-70, RAF Lakenheath (UK) on 06-02-72.
Squadron exchanges took also place: 6 F-5A(G) went to Eindhoven in March 1971 to exchange with Dutch F-84F of the 315 Squadron; an last Squadron exchange, with dissimilar ar combat exercises, was organised at Bodø MAS in May 1973 with the Canadian AF 439 Squadron CF-104, in view of the arrival of similar aircrafts.
   336 Squadron "Tigers"


collection Tor-Willy Apeland            Badge on tail

Formerly North American F-86F unit, based at Rygge AB, 336 Squadron was the first to re-equip with the Freedom Fighter as fighter-bombers. First aircraft landed at Rygge AB on 11-03-66. It received its first 11 aircraft (9 single, 2 double-seaters) on 26-02-66, but the official handover ceremony took only place on 22-03-66 when F-5A serial 13370, code PX-A was officially taken over.
The Squadron immediately started long range training flights: one Northrop F-5B visited Beauvechain AB (Belgium) on 26-06-66 and several others. Another visit was at Lakenheath by 13 Northrop F-5A and 1 F-5B was on 10-08-76; 3 single-seaters replaced 3 of them on 16-07-76., followed in August 1977 by 15 single- and 1 Double-seater to RAF Lakenheath.

Northrop F-5A PX-P 14904 at RAF Bentwaters on 09-05-69 with a stormy sky.
                                                                     Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

In 1977 it bacame a full member of the NATO "Tiger Club", painting at a later stage a couple of aircrafts (serial 134 and 208) with particularly attractive colours and winning the prize for the "Best tiger paint" at the International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, in 1997.
It participated to the Tigermeets from June 1978 at Kleine Brogel AB up to the last meeting in 1998 (Lechfeld AB - Germany) before its disbandment, handing over  the Norwegian association to the General Dynamic F-16 equipped 338 Squadron.

336 Squadron took over the Operational Converion Unit role from 718 Squadron in 1983, undertaking training and "Europeanisation" for pilots returning from jet training in the USA, role later abandoned due to reduced pilot capacity within the Squadron.

The Squadron started to convert on General Dynamics F-16 in 1983, as a plan to concentrate all remaining Northrop Freedom Fighters within the 338 Squadron at Ørland AB existed; this was later cancelled and all remaining active F-5s were transferred to the 336 Squadron on 15-11-84. Life of the remaining Northrop RF-5As was short as the last operational flight was on 10-12-84.

            Northrop F-5A serial 374 at Gütersloh in October 1977 on 12-10-77 during an Squadron Exchange
            "zapped" on tail.                                                 Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

Changes in aircrafts avionics and an
Service Life Extension Programme to 17 Northrop F-5A(G) and 13 F-5B(G) aircrafts, between 1984 and 1987, modified the unit's role from fighter-bomber to limited air-defence, with all-aspect AIM-9L-1/N Sidewinders, and Electronic Warfare training.

    Photo: P. Bannwarth
Northrop F-5A serial 215 not yet upgraded with serial 909 already equipped with RWR antenna
at Montijo AB (Portugal) participating to the "Tiger Meet" in June 1987

A Squadron exchange to Lossiemouth took place in May 1991.

A great step forward happened with the arrival between September 1993 and July 1994 of 7 Northrop F-5A(G) and 8 F-5B(G) modified according to the Program for Avionics and Weapon Systems (PAWS). The aircrafts could now carry US ALQ-176 or Norwegian ALQ-300 electronic jamminmg pods on the centreline ventral hard point, operating often in support to Penguin armed F-16s maritime strike fighters as well as for ECM training to other Norwegian and many NATO units. Another role was the Suppression of Enemy Air Defence, blinding enemy radars with a great number of chaffs carried on the inboard wing pylons, allowing the following F-16s to attack the enemy defences with less risk. Their operational value was such, that they were planned to remain in service for about seven more years, despite the maintenance effort required to keep them flying, which included a major overhaul at 300-hour intervals. Most of the airframes hae between 4'000 and 5'000 airframe hours, and new wings were purchased to replace those which had shown signs of cracking, together with the renewal of fuselage longerons. An associated modification programme will extend their structural integrity, allowing the F-5s to complete manoeuvres up to 6g with centreline stores fitted, increasing to 7.33g in clean configuration. It also enabled them to provide full "Aggressor" training for the
General Dynamics F-16 equipped Squadrons.

Six Northrop F-5A/B, based at RAF Leeming, together with 6 Norwegian F-16s, 2 Falcon 20 participated to the exercise Brillant Invader in June 1995; they were equipped with either US ALQ-176 or Norwegian ALQ-300 electronic jamminmg pods on the centreline ventral hard point.
Twelve (6 F-5A, 5 F-5B) participated between 27-02 and 10-03-95, from Trondheim, to excercise Strong Resolve 95 together with 6 RAF Jaguar GR1A, 6 Harrier GR7.

A large-scale winter exercise Battle Griffin 96 took place in 1996; 6 F-5s and 2 UK Falcon 20 provided jamming support for the blue force (WGAF/WGN Tornado, Royal Norwegian and Netherland F-16s, RAF Tornado, USAF F-15s) against enemy radars and hostile
SAMs on the target, and in the excercise area would try to engage the attacking aircrafts.
Three F-5A and 2 F-5B participated to the excercise Cooperative Banners based at Sola 04-06-97; Danish F-16A/B, Nethelands F-16A/B,
Norwegian Bell 412SP, Polish, Hungarian/Czech/Slovenian MiG-29, Swedish JA-37, RAF Harriers and USAF F-16C/D also participated.
1998 saw one
F-5A, two F-5B, based at Lakenheath, flying against USAF F-15E of the 492nd Fighter Squadron (what a difference in performance!) from 6th till 09-11-98.

Many European bases were visited during Freedom Fighters operational life: eg F-5A PX-S 13368 05-07-70 went to Wildenrath AB, one F-5A went to Mildenhall AB on 22-05-71, Lakenheath AB was visited several times: 01 till 08-11-96 by 2 F-5A(G) and 6 F-5B(G); 10-12-96 1 F-5A(G) and 1 F-5B(G); 21-01-97 1 F-5A(G) and 1 F-5B(G).

The unit was also active in Squadron Exchanges: eg six F-5A/B(G) went to Gütersloh as an exchange with RAF No. 4 Squadron flying Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR1 between 04 and 12-10-77a rotation was activated with Luftwaffe JBG-33 at Büchel on 22-08-89 with 4 F-5A and 2 F-5B. Participation to NATO exercises was not neglected, like at "Best Focus" at Eggebeck AB (Germany) from May 30th till June 07th 1980.

Most important of all were the NATO exercises and Squadron exchanges after the F-5s were modified to PAWS standard.
End of 1994
10 F-5 partecipated from Bodø at an exercise, together with 24 Norwegian F-16 and 2 ECM Falcons, 10 Dutch F-16, 2 USAF KC-135, 1 Spanish ECM Falcon, 2 Canadian ECM Challengers.

Norwegian AF Top Gun pilots winners in 1994, 1995 and 1997 from this unit.

As all over the world, biting financial problems led to the disbandment of the Squadron on June 30th, 2000, last official flight being performed by Northrop F-5B  serial 908 visiting various F-5 connected bases, including Sola AB and Bardufoss AB.
The aircrafts were not grounded. They were transferred to the Eye of Tiger project (see below for further details).

338 Squadron

Official badge                    Patch                                                Tail markings
                    collection Tor-Willy Apeland  

Northrop F-5A MU-E 10566 MU-E at RAF Bentwaters in April 1967
                                                                     Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


            Northrop F-5A MU-Y 69242 MU-E at RAF Bentwaters in April 1967
                                                                                 Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

Northrop F-5A MU-K 69209 with big unit marking in a rainy open-day at RAF Wiesbaden in June 1971
                                                                           Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

            Northrop F-5A 896 and 908 on the apron at Husum AB (Germany) on 30-09-
84, note reduced size
            unit tail marking on 896 plus arch, part of the official Squadron badge.

                                                                                       Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

This was the fourth unit to transition to the Northrop F-5A(G), starting from September 1966 at Ørland AB, formerly equipped with North American F-86F. Its main duty was changed from air-to-air to air-to-ground attack.

By Septmber 1971 three pilots from the unit had flown  1'000 hours each.

Visits to other European bases were part of the training sequence:
first official Northrop F-5 to the United Kingdom
5 single, 1 double-seater 6 machines (among them F-5A 10562/MU-A, F-5B 69242/MU-Y) arriving Bentwaters AFB on April 11th 1976 excercising with the based McDonnenel F-4C in gunnery, bombing excercises and interceptions
Early 1968 Eindhoven AB was visited by 
F-5A(G) MU-M 69213 and F-5B MU-Y 69242; on May 04th till 12th, 1971 5 F-5A and 1 F-5B went to RAF Wittering (UK). Several other visits followed to German, Dutch and UK bases.

Known Squadron Exchanges are:
in June 1980 with Jagdbomber Geschwader 35 equipped with McDonnel F-4F at Pferdsfeld (Germany); 25-06/03-07-1981 with 6 Northrop F-5A(G)/B at Gütersloh with No 3 Squadron, equipped with BAe Harrier GR.3.

Following the purchase of the
General Dynamics F-16 in the late '70s it was decided to concentrate all the Freedom Fighters within the 338 Squadron and the transfer of all F-5s to Ørland AB was initiated. This decision was however reversed; 338 Squadron Northrops were transferred during 1984 to Rygge AB to join 336 Squadron and the General Dynamics F-16s of 336 Squadron (which had shortly before started re-equipment) were transferred in August 1985 to 338 Squadron for the air-to-air fighting role.
717 Squadron

    The Republic RF-84F fleet was aging at the end of the 60' when, on 8 April 1969,
    the first Northrop RF-5A replacement aircraft arrived at Rygge AB
, 717 Squadron
    being the fifth unit equipped with Freedom Fighters.
Already in April 1969, during its
    20th anniversary ceremony the Squadron conducted a flying display with two
    Northrop RF-5A
and two Republic RF-84F, this last being definitely phased-out in
    June 1970
. The staturory strength was 12 aircrafts; four were in reserve and
    for maintenace duties.

collection Tor-Willy Apeland

Among the regular activity were long distance flights, some being visiting Eindhoven AB on 06-05-71 and others in April and July 1972. Additional flights to various European air bases (in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, UK) were undertaken. A Squadron exchange with RAF  McDonnell F-4 FG.1 (43 Squadron) took place in Norway (at Bardufoss AB) in 1971

Northrop RF-5A AZ-M 89105 at Twenthe AB (Netherlands) open-day on 22-06-71.

                                                                     Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

One known Squadron Exchange was with No 4 Sqn Harrier GR1 at RAF Wldenrath (Germany) by 8 single- and 1 double-seater, between the 22nd and 30th May 1973.

          Northrop RF-5A serial 106 with unusual grey painted reconnaissance nose at Rygge AB on 14-06-75
                                                                                                                       Photo: L. E. Lundin

The Freedom Fighter life in the Squadron was short, being deactivated on 15-08-79; originally it was planned to transfer six each to 332 and 336 Squadrons but finally tasks, personnel and some aircrafts were transferred only to 336 Squadron at Rygge AB. It was reactivated on 01-01-95 for Electronic Warfare duties equipped with Dassault Falcon 20.

718 Squadron
Luftforsvarets Fltaktiske Skole (LFTS)  (Air Force School of Flight Tactics)

    Official badge                       Patch              Yellow/red tailband
             collection Tor-Willy Apeland

This was the sixth and final Squadron to convert in May 1968 on the Northrop fighter; it was based at Sola AB, using Lockheed T-33A for advanced training since 1960. It was chosen to operate as the local Operational Conversion Unit (Luftforsvarets Fltaktiske Skole - LFTS) from January 01st, 1969 (thanks also to the Air Force bombing and firing school at the same basis), having some Northrop F-5A and most of the Northrop F-5Bs on charge.

Its aircrafts, particularly F-5B, participated over the years to open days
and to visits in various countries, eg Belgium (Beauvechain on -06-70), Germany (Wiesbaden AFB  on -06-71, -12-73), UK (Birnbrook AB -08-79, Yeovilton -08-71). Five F-5A also participated to the Bullseye meeting at Schleswig-Jägel on the 23rd and 24th March 1973. Many others followed all over Europe.

        Northorp F-5A 14896 DP-C and F-5B 14906 DP-W on the apron at Yeovilton in August 1971
        Note Northrop F-5A wears yellow/red tailband painted for a short on any Northrop F-5A.             
Photo: B. Johnstone

The unit was disbanded in January 1983, last flight being on 03-01-83 by Northrop F-5A serial 376, handing over Operation Conversion duties to 336 Squadron, also at Rygge AB. It was reformed at Bardufoss AB on 01-11-06 equipped with remote-controlled drones.

   Flying Jokers
   The Flying Jokers aerobatic team was part of the 332 Skvadronat Rygge AB, equipped with 
   4 North American F-
86F, till it was disbanded in 1963.
   Re-established in 1966 with 3 Northrop F-5A(G) it participated to some air-shows, until it was
in 1973, again reactivated as part of the 336 Skvadron in 1976 to be disbanded in
   August 1977 shortly after its
well known appearance at the International Air Tatto at RAF
   Faiford in June 
1977; the team flew with three aircrafts, plus one as a solo and one in reserve.

   Badge painted on F-5A tail.

Three, plus a reserve, Northrop F-5A of the aerobatic formation at Greenhamn Common on 21-06-77.
Archive The Northrop F-5 Entusiast
    Eye of the Tiger (EoT)
    This is the best known Norwegian operation of the Northrop F-5s. Operations at Rygge AB
    were immediatialy resumed for the tests on the new short to medium range anti-shipping
    cruise missile Penguin being developed by Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace of Norway for
    the Navy after disbandment of 336 Squadron on 30-06-00 under the program called "Eye of
    the Tiger" (EoT).
    Seven aircrafts were attached to the EoT project: 3 Northrop F-5A(G) serials 896, 131,
 4 Northrop F-5B 136, 243, 244 and 907.  These aircrafts are modified to host "Simen"
 (on the right wingtip tank, with anti-ship missile nose) and with a new type of
for better resistance against birds collision (due to increased low-level flights).

Three Northrop F-5B were used to test the missile, another two- and the three single-seaters were used for
 pilots training. The remaining operational aircrafts were kept in reserve.

The unit had 3 pilots (one also flying for SAS), 12 technicians and one secretary.

collection Tor-Willy Apeland

Some tests were needed to be done in USA as the program moved-on; two Northrop F-5B (243 and 244) were transferred to
NAS Point Mugu (Californa) by an Antonov An-124 on 24-06-06.

            Northrop F-5B at Point Mugu with red-painted, camera equipped, wingtip tank at Point Mugu on
            09-01-07. Data storage equipment is clearly visible on the back-seat.          Photo: Dave Cibley

The aircrafts performed in Europe, on top of EoT duties, ECM training during air and and naval exercises, particularly during the annual Norwegian Navy early summer one.
Two Northrop F-5A(G) participated from Rygge AB as "Electronic Adversaries" to an the large, two-weeks long, deployment exercise and operative evaluation of NATO International Reaction Forces in 2002.
   Luftforsvarets Tekniske Senter (LTS)             (Air Force Technical Center)
   Luftforsvarets Tekniske Skolesenter (LKTS) (Air Force Technical Schoolcenter)

The LTS is based at Kjevik; it the the Technical school of the Air Force; it used the
   retired aircrafts for instruction of technicians purposes.
   The first airframe, Northrop F-5A serial 900 was received already in 1978 and used
   for Battle Damage Repair instruction; it was followed by F-5A serial 563, received in
   February 1983, and by Northrop RF-5F serial 105 in May 1985. One Northrop F-5B
   was also in use, serial 595, 
received during the summer of 1995.

After the disbandment of the 336 Squadron there was no need for these instructional frames; F-5A 563 was transferred to the Norwegian National Museum at Bodø AB, RF-5A 105 to the Defense Flysamling at Gardermoen early 1999, F-5B serial 595 was exchanged for an Dutch General Dynamics F-16A, on 14-03-04, and transferred to the VTOC - Technical School near Schiphol.