Northrop F-5 - Operators


  • Austrian Air Force: On loan from Switzerland – all aircraft returned and replaced by Eurofighters
  • Bahrain Air Force received eight F-5Es and two F-5Fs in between 1985 and 1987.
  • Botswana Air Force purchased 10 upgraded CF-5As and 3 CF-5Ds from Canada in 1996. A further two CF-5Ds were purchased in 2000.
  • Brazilian Air Force operates 51 F-5EM and six F-5FM; to be withdrawn gradually between 2017 and 2030.
  • Canadian Forces – see Canadair CF-5
  • Chilean Air Force: Chile purchased 15 F-Es and 3 F-5Fs in the 1970s, these being upgraded to Tigre III standard from 1993. In 1995, it supplemented its fleet with 10 F-5Es and 2 F-5Fs from Honduras. 16 F-5Es were replaced in 2009 by 16 F-16 Fighting Falcon MLU T5. A total of 10 F-5s remain operational as of 2009.
Republic of China (Taiwan)
  • Republic of China Air Force: Received 115 F-5A and B from 1965, 48 were transferred to South Vietnam before 1975. From 1973 to 1986, Taiwan produced 308 F-5E/Fs under license. Later batches of locally AIDC licensed production of Tiger IIs were fitted with flare/chaff dispensers, plus handling qualities upgrades with enlarged LEX and F-20's shark nose, and radar warning receivers(RWR).
  • Ethiopian Air Force first delivery in 1966 it has operated the A, B and E variants.
  • Hellenic Air Force first deliveries of 52 F-5As from June 1965 under the United States Mutual Assistance Program, later followed by F-5B and RF-5As. Greece was later to operated five squadrons of F-5s with many obtained second-hand.
  • Honduran Air Force following an embargo on Israel supplied Kfirs the United States delivered ten F-5E and two F-5Fs starting in 1987, they were refurbished former United States Air Force aircraft.
  • Indonesian Air Force: All 16 F-5Es have been retired since late 2005 but are in reserve in case of future use.
  • Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force: 60 or 75 F-5E and F operational; 140 originally delivered
  • Unknown numbers of HESA Saeqeh and HESA Azarakhsh fighters derived from the F-5 design
  • Royal Jordanian Air Force
  • Kenya Air Force: In July 2008, it was reported that Kenya will spend 1.5 billion KSh to buy 15 former Jordanian Air Force F-5s, 13 F-5E and two F-5F upgraded with Rockwell Collins avionics (plus training and spare parts).They will be added or eventually replace the current F-5 fleet
Republic of Korea
  • Republic of Korea Air Force received a total of 340 F-5s (88 F-5A, 30 F-5B, 8 RF-5A, 126 F-5E, 20 F-5F, 48 KF-5E, and 20 KF-5F).
  • Royal Libyan Air Force to 1969. 10 F-5s. May have been sold to Turkey after 1969.
  • Mexican Air Force received 12 F-5s in 1982. The service currently operates eight F-5Es and two F-5Fs.
  • Royal Moroccan Air Force operates 33 F-5A/Bs including nine F-5E/Fs and 24 upgraded F-5TIIIs.
  • Royal Malaysian Air Force uses four as trainer aircraft while another eighteen of its Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs were upgraded for reconnaissance purposes, however the operational status for these are grounded.
  • Royal Netherlands Air Force former operator
  • Royal Norwegian Air Force former operator
  • Philippine Air Force received 19 F-5A (single seat) and three F-5B (two seater) aircraft in 1965-1967. In 1989, the PAF received three ex-Taiwanese F-5A and single F-5B. In 1990s at least eight ex-South Korean F-5A and two Jordanian F-5A were acquired. All F-5 upgrades were abandoned in 2008. The Philippines decommissioned its F-5A/B fleet in 2011.
Saudi Arabia
  • Royal Saudi Air Force: 110 F-5E/Fs withdrawn from active service aside from in the trainer role, some squadrons such as #10 based in Taif will be replaced with Eurofighter Typhoon.
  • Republic of Singapore Air Force: operates 32 F-5S, 9 F-5T and 8 RF-5S fighters.
South Vietnam
  • Vietnam Air Force received fleet of 158 former US, Korean, Iranian and Chinese F-5A Freedom Fighters, 10 RF-5A and 8 F-5B trainers, USA provided also newer F-5E Tiger IIs, most of F-5 were evacuated to Thailand in 1975, but many were captured by People's Army.
  • Spanish Air Force, operates 20 F-5Bs as trainers for fighter school.
  • Sudanese Air Force: 10 F-5Es and two F-5F were delivered in 1978, One of the F-5Fs was sold to Jordan. further two F-5s defected to Sudan from Ethiopia during the Ogaden crisis.
  • Swiss Air Force: Operating 42 F-5E and 12 F-5F Tiger II.
  • Royal Thai Air Force: F-5A retired. Now operates F-5B/E/F/T, F-5B/E slated for retirement in 2011-2012, to be replaced by 12-JAS 39 Gripen. The last F-5 fleet, upgraded F-5T Tigris and F-5F will continue to serve to 2015-2020.
  • Tunisian Air Force
  • Turkish Air Force: More than 200 F-5A/Bs and NF-5A/Bs were bought from various countries. Between 40 and 50 of them were upgraded to F-5/2000 standard during the 2000s (decade); Turkish Stars aerobatic team. In total, 50 NF-5A and 25 NF-5B remain operational.
Soviet Union
  • F-5Es were received from Vietnam and the Derg regime in Ethiopia for performance tests and evaluation flights. They were tested in mock combat against MiG-21 and MiG-23 aircraft, ultimately aiding in the development of the MiG-23MLD and the MiG-29.
United States
  • United States Air Force former operator
26th Aggressor Squadron
64th Fighter Weapons Squadron
65th Fighter Weapons Squadron
527th Aggressor Squadron
  • United States Marine Corps
  • United States Navy
  • Venezuelan Air Force
  • Vietnam People's Air Force (several captured ex-VNAF aircraft). One F-5E (s/n 73-00867) was transferred to the Soviet Union for evaluation flights, i.e. against the MiG-21bis; 40+ F-5E/F/C were in VNAF's service. After the Vietnam War, Vietnamese forces used the captured F-5 fleet against Chinese forces during Sino-Vietnamese War.
  • Yemen Air Force: North Yemen Air Force's 14 F-5E/F fleet were initially piloted by ROCAF/Taiwan pilots as part of 115th Squadron at Sana‘a, from April 1979 to May 1990, to boost its air defense.

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