Development - Northrop F-5G/F-20 Tigershark
third generation of the
Northrop product with the latest airframe, engines, radar
and avionic features was studied beginning mid-70s
keeping in mind the same requirements as the previous versions: low cost, ruggedness and ease of operation.
The study ended with the construction of the Northrop F-5G,
later redesignated F-20, first flown on 30-08-82; it had little commonality
with the earlier Northrop fighter, though ir was initially designated in the F-5 range.
Three prototypes were built (here the first prototype), received initially USAF serials, were
painted in the markings of several possible customers; later they wore civilian registration
for demonstration purposes to various countries.Two were lost during these demonstrations.
Politics first blocked the sale of this fighter; authorisation in 1983 to sell the more advanced,
expensive and complicated General Dynamics F-16 abroad gave the death blow to
airframes had been built by the time, two of which were lost
in crashes, an additional
airframe was only partially
completed. Presence of the fighter at Edwards AFB with the 6512
was from 10-04-84 till April 1985.
By 1986 Northrop
had incurred in a loss of USD 1,2 billion, when
further development/sales efforts
were cancelled in December.
No further details of this third F-5/F-20 generation fighter are included as this is outside the
scope of this study.
Programs - NASA/NORTH AMERICAN SPACE AGENCY
Grumman X-29 programm
two aircrafts, designated X-29A, using two hightly modified Northrop
F-5A airframes (63-8372 becoming 82-0003 and
65-10573 becoming 82-0049), utilising the forward fuselage and landing gear of the Freedom Fighters. The first flight of the new
aircraft was on 14-12-84 from Edwards AFB.
NASA used the the test aircrafts (in collaboration with Grumman, DARPA and USAF) between 1984 and 1991 demonstrating a number
of new technologies and techniques plus new use of existing technologies.
This photo clearly shows the Northrop F-5A origin (forward fuselage).
Shaped Sonic Boom Demonstrator (SSBD) programm
Mid-fuselage stripes symbolize how pressure waves expected in an "normal" Northrop F-5
was a collaboration between NASA's Langley Research Center, Dryden
Flight Reseearch Center, USAF's Edwards Air Force Base and Northrop
Grumman. The aim was to reduce the efect of the sonic boom by
Northrop F-5E's forward fuselage (together an McDonnell Douglas F-15B)
in a two years long program. US Marines Northrop F-5E 741556 was chosen to be modified. This aircraft was shortly due for
in-deep maintenace but was allowed to fly an additional 50 hours for
the project, though the US Navy insisted it was to be remodified to the
original configuration when tests were completed; change of mind came
when former Swiss Tigers were bought by the Navy. Northrop's
aircraft aerodynamic control flights started on 24-07-03, Shaped Sonic
Boom Demonstration from Edwards AFB on 02-08-03 and Palmdale lasting till
19-01-04. The aircraft was equipped with special telemetry equipment in
the cockpit in order to obtain useful datas.