Last update 02-12-2020
Fuerza Aerea Argentina / Argentine Air Force
Ministry of External Relations was asked to request the delivery of
Northro F-5A in 1964, request blocked by the United States of America...
Photo: Aviolatina/ Javier Mosquera
This fake photo shows how the aircraft might have been seen in the colours of the Grupo de Caza 5
A fruitless demostration took place at Mariano Moreno AB on 26-09-73, two days long, with Northrop F-5E serial 71-01401.
possibilities were considered to re-equip the Air Force after the 1982
Falklands war, considering also the political problems. A Chinese offer for F-7M Airguard M at a cost of USD 160 millions (a Chinese of the Mikoyan-Gureitch MiG-21-13) was considered and the aircraft tested in 1986, with negative results. A last minute offer was made by the USA in 1987 (to be bought via FMS, cost 13.1 mIllions), of 22
Northrop F-5E and 4 Northrop F-5F (former USAF aggressor aircrafts) in order to block Chinese influence in South America. This Tiger offer
was immediately accepted, but the aircrafts were never delivered, instead went they to Brazil.
The Argentine Air Force showed again interest to buy Northrop F-5s in July 2015
, together with Beech T-34, in order to replace
withdrawn GAMD Mirages and establish a regional balance as Brazil and
Chile already operated Northrop F-5s. Original request for a Squadron
of General Dynamic F-16s was not acceptable to the USA. A delegation to the
United States studied the possiblity to buy 12/14 former Swiss AF/US
Navy Northrop F-5N in 2016. Selectioned was finally the GAMD Super
Belgische Luchtcomponent / Composant Air / Belgian Air Component
Northrop F-5 equipped with General Electric J-85-15 engines as a
replacement for the Republic F-84F was offered in 1963 to this Air
Force but the GAMD Mirage 5 was preferred. A statement at the time mentioned " it improves all performances (range, weaponery carriage ????), except at extreme ranges.
Fuerza Aerea Boliviana / Bolivian Air Force
30-09-74 a Northrop delegation presented to the commander of the
Bolivian Air Force/Army/Navy a briefing (at the request of the local
Air Force) about the Northrop F-5E, without knowledge of USA State,
Defence and Embassy Departments. According Northrop the
briefing was not in order to sell the aircraft, but price and
delivery time were confidential. Opposition was expressed by US
representative as, according to the information of the Bolivian Head of
State. the country wished to concentrate on buying transport aircrafts.
The Bolivian Air Force mentioned they had USD 80m at disposal to buy 20 Northrop F-5E and 4 F-5F. Sale was not concluded.
Ilmavoimat / Finnish
A telex from the USA dated May 1964
informed the local embassy that Finland might have been interested in
the purchase of Northrop F-5A; though not at a sophistication level as
the Saab J-35 it was less expensive and might have been supported by
Norway with its NorthropF-5s. It
considered the purchase of either aircraft not feasable, but wanted to
keep US aircraft under Finnish consideration. On 06-05-65 it was reported that the country bought Saab J-35 or maybe interested in the Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-21. The Freedom Fighter was out of run
Indian Air Force
letter of offer was sent xxx by the US Deputy Secretary of Defence to
the Indian Minister of Defence offering its governement owned portion
of an Northrop F-5 tooling facility at 5 percent of its value. This
wouldhave enabled India to build 90% of the center fuselage, 80% of the
forward fuselage, 50% of the wings and fuselage, 40% of the test tools
for an Northrop TF-5 trainer. In 1981 India sought to buy Northrop
F-5G but this was denied on gound of Pentagon's reluctance to release
classified information relating to the engine.
Israel Air Force
options in a study ro replace GAMD S Mytere, Mistere, Ouragan were
Northrop F-5s, Douglas A-4. Finally the latter was chosen.
Kuwait Air Force
Douglas received in March 1964 the authorisation to make uclassiffied sales presentationon
on Douglas A-4 and Northrop F-5s in September 1963; Kuwait preferred to
buy one aircrafts for the interception and one for the ground attack
role (English Electric Lightnings and BAC Strikemasters).
Macedonia Air Force
received an offer in 2001 for 20 Northrp F-5 surplus to Turkish
requirements. The aircrafts were free of charge, but Macedonia was to
pay their overhaul, but the countra turned down the offer.
Nigerian Air Force
During 1973 Northrop contacted Nigeria regarding the
possible FMS, cash sale of 15 Northrop F-5E, but supply of Sidewinder
air-to-air missile was opposed by the USA due to its policy not to
deliver missiles to African countries. Northrop Tiger was in
competition with Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-21 which was preferred.
Peru Air Force
Peru had concluded by October 1967 a contract for Mirage 5 when a conversation between the Peruvian President and the USA
Ambassador took place. This mentioned if Northrop F-5s added to a
loan of USD 40m could substitute the French aircraft, though this
offer did not have much chances. The Perruvian kept the contract for
Mirage 5 fighters.
Portuguese Air Force
commander of the Portueguese AF expressed on 03-06-74 its interest in receiving 12 Northrop F-5E, 8 in 1976, 12 in 1977, total 32; 1
Squadron of 16 McDonnell F-4Es as
well as 20 Northrop T-38 to replace North American F-86F and Lockheed
T-33A (quite an unrealistic wish), apart from traines, helicopters,
transports ASW aircrafts. All these aircrafts were to replace
obsolescent North American F-85F and Fiat G-91 in the various versions.
This was modified on 30-07-74 during a meeting regarding
the use of Lajes AFB by the USA to only 16 Northrop F-5E and 16
Northrop T-38A, much more realistic. By 1976 the Tiger was the preferred aircraft by the
Drawing: Paulo Alegria
Even a drawing showing an Northop F-5E, serial 5501, was published .
Later, in a meeting with a US delegation on
15-11-79, the AF Command discussed the purchase though MAP of 20 Northrop F-5Es to
be deliverd between May and October 1981, for a total of USD 120.00m, under a Foreign Military Sales
Progamm loan, but the amount due to be paid by Portugal was too high. A
second proposal for 12 F-5s, for a total of USD 79.00m, to be delivered between May and August 1981
was still too high. Finally only twelve Northrop T-38A for pilot
supersonic training were obtained starting from 1977 together with 20 ground-attack Chance Vought A-7A for maritime
operations (later increasd to 50). Air defence was provided by Spanish
fighters and General Dynamics F-16 of the 401st Wing based at Torrejon
Air Force was still interested in lookin for a fighter to supplant the North
American F-86F used. A delegation was sent to Norway in July 1979 to
evaluate Freedom Fighters of the Norwegian AF. This was protracted till
1982 when 15-20 Northrop F-5A, F-5B were offered at a low price, but needed
repairs due to cracks found in the airframe to be paid by Portugal;
double-seaters were not on offer. Only in November 1984 the USA offered 4
Northrop F-5A plus 2 spare engines, offer declined due to the high number
of flight hours on the aircrafts (around 3'000, out of 4'000 service hours foreseen).
Qatar Air Force
Several questions regarding the Northrop F-5 were asked on 12-06-77 to the US Ambassador by
the Amir during a meeting. The Amir confused the General Dynamic F-16
with the Tiger, recently shown to him beginning 1976 in Saudi Arabia.
The US ambassador cleared the error and the Amir, but was unable to
confirm if the fighter sale was permissible under US Gulf arms
supply policy. No other information is available.
Salvador Air Force
personnel and civilians in USA and El Salvador wanted to upgrade the
Air Force to operate Northorp F-5s. Out of question for the USA.
Uruguay Air Force
Air Force had in 2009 shown interest (without conclusion due to
dunding problems) for the Northrop F-5 when 3 IAI/Northrop
F-5E Tiger III and 1 IAI/Northrop F-5F were shown in Montevideo on 17-03-13 during
the 100th anniversary of local aviaiton. Unofficially was stated that
the cost between 4 and 6 fighters would be around USD 80m. Also
considered was the purchase from Switzeland of Northrop F-5R. Other
aircrafts examined were the Russian Yak-130 and the Chinese L-15 trainer/attack aircrafts. All these alternatives were too expensive and no new aircraft was bought.