Development  -  Northrop  F-5G/F-20 Tigershark

A 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 the project.
    Three 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 Test Wing 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
   No further details of this third F-5/F-20 generation fighter are given as this is outside the scope of this study.

   Left: Northrop photo of Northrop F-20 armed with 2 Sidewinders, 1 Harpoon, 2 Maverick missiles plus underwing tanks
  shows clearly its Tiger origin.



Grumman X-29 programm

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   Grumman built 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 (old)
   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).

   Photo: NASA

Shaped Sonic Boom Demonstrator (SSBD) programm

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        Photo: NASA
Mid-fuselage stripes symbolize how pressure waves expected in an "normal" Northrop F-5
                          and the "modified" one.

This 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
modifying an 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.