A discussion on the F-5C and F-5E

Something I’ve been wanting to talk about is the current balance of these two jets. I will make this brief by saying I believe both are overperforming by a large margin relative to the performance of other jets in the current air RB meta. The F-5C is in my opinion the strongest 10.3 jet just ahead of the 21SMT, though when the 21SMT receives its FM nerf this will probably make it much worse.

Here are why I think the F-5C is incredibly strong:

  1. Despite only having 2x 9Es for its missile load, the flight performance is pretty much god tier relative to anything else at the BR, making it extremely easy to get gun kills with or dodge enemy guns/missiles, OR handle multiple enemies at once even. I also believe (going by what more informed people have said) that the flight model is also quite ahistorical and of need of bug fixing.

  2. The heat signature of the F-5 is unrealistically low and causes missiles to both easily be 1 flared pretty much regardless of what the F-5 does in a lot of cases. I’ve seen F-5s flying in a straight line with afterburner on flaring 6+ 9Ls in a row without even banking.

  3. Speaking of the flares… they shouldn’t exist. I think if the plane didn’t have flares none of this would be worth bringing up even because the plane could have been balanced around that.

  4. Most importantly, it fits the meta to a T. The meta currently is 5 minute games revolving around quick furballs. The F-5 excels at this type of gameplay.

  5. The damage model, while not as good as when it came out, is still incredibly ridiculous for such a tiny fragile plane realistically speaking.

For F-5E (these will be similar)

  1. Only 2Js but as said the FM is god tier even more than the F-5C’s is. The F-5E can beat pretty much anything it meets in matchmaking in a dogfight if you have the skill minus a few exceptions and 9Js still get kills fairly often in my experience especially against the premium horde.

  2. Same heat signature issue

  3. Flares are fine this time but it also fits the meta to a T the same way.

  4. Same damage issue problem.

I simply suggest either removing the F-5C’s flares or moving it to 10.7 and giving it 9J/9Ps instead. I don’t care if they didn’t use them. They didn’t use flares either.

For F-5E, uptier it to 11.0 and give it 2 9P4s instead of 2 9Js.

I’m aware gaijin will do nothing to either because 1. american planes are usually undertiered because most played nation and 2. F-5C won’t get nerfed because gaijin doesn’t care if a premium is overpowered. That’s the point. This is for discussion of the aircraft.

I’m also aware on how to beat a F-5 and I also own the F-5(E). Keep the comments to yourself.


Guess we’re not in the mood today


This is the biggest issue in my personal opinion. After seeing an F-5E 1 flare a rear-aspect Aim-9M whilst on full reheat and the missile changing targets instantly. I was genuinely dumb-founded (I wish I saved the clip)

This is a rather hilarious clip showing the damage model and flight performance of the F-5E by @John_Sneeeeeeeew


Yeah, I experience this every 10.3 match I play…

I mean; if the latter was fixed, it wouldn’t be an issue.


Yep, I share the same opinion. No one complains about the SHar, A-10 or anything else at that BR with flares (specifically the flares, I know everyone complains about the 9Ls) . So what is special about the F-5C? Its the cold fusion engines.


I played MiG-21SMT/MF in dev server but, it wasn’t big oof nerf like MiG-23s.
They are still horrible for most 9.3-10.3BR jets.

I’ll be dropping down from ~6000 meters in my Draken, and even in range, and then after burning, I can’t get a solid lock until I get under 2.5 km’s

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I’ve had an Aim-9L not lock till about 1.5km before. in side aspect against a re-heating F-5

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They don’t care this is their cash cow. F-5E has received tons of buff such as the radar gunlead, while aircraft with stealth only belts like the draken haven’t to this day. Buffed RWR as well on top, no BR change. When they were to move it back to 11.0 (they werent going to they were lying, just a scheme), this was their answer as to why they didn’t: We received player feedback from the BR change thread. Funnily there wasn’t a single post saying it should stay at 10.7, but multiple agreeing with it going back up. Go figure


Sea Harrier FRS1 is waiting for that buff as well. Its been reported for the better part of a year. FA2 didnt even have one intiially but just been added thankfully

1- The best 10.3s go to Mirage 3E and Mig 21SMT/MF.
2- F-5C’s engine temps are slightly higher than F-4E’s engine temps.
3- Flares existing is why the F-5A/C is 10.3 instead of 9.7, not sure why your post is arguing for the F-5A/C to go to 9.7.
4- 7 - 10 minute games, which refer to point 1.
5- It’s slightly stronger than some people think it should be. Neither of us can really comment on that tho. Other aircraft could have weaker damage models than what they should be at.

1- F-4F does all those things with 2 extra 9Js and a faster top speed.
2- Still hotter than an F-4E.
3- F-4F does all those things with 2 extra 9Js and a faster top speed.
4- Refer to point 5.

The F-5E, F-4F, etc are balanced at 10.7 the way they are now. They don’t need new missiles either.

F-5C, Mirage 3E, Mig-21SMT/MF, AJ37, F-8E are all fine at 10.3.
There’s no reason to move F-5C to 9.7 without flares, or all those listed aircraft to 10.7.

Every single 10.7 in War Thunder is drastically superior to F-5C.

Sustained turn rates: An indication of energy retention.
F-5C: 12 for 410. 14.2 for 600. 14.6 at 900. 1228 Fahrenheit engines.
F-8E: 14 for 480. 14.8 for 600. 1180 Fahrenheit engine. 4x 9Ds.
Mig-21MF: 12.7 for 450. 13.5 for 600. 4x R-60s. [Dev server]
Mig-21SMT: 12.4for 460. 13.2 for 600. 4x R-60s. [Dev server]
T-2: 12.7 for 450. 13.6 for 600. 2x 9Js at 9.7.
Mirage 3E: 12.6 for 410. 12.9 for 600. 2x Magic 1s.
Super Etendard?: 13 for 410. 14.5 for 600. 14.7 for 900? 2x Magic 1s.
Honestly didn’t expect the Super Etendard result… It can’t do verticals obviously.
AJ37: 13.2 for 410. 14.7 for 600. 14.9 for 900. 2x 9Js.
Mirage 5BA: 13 for 410. 13.3 for 600. 2x 9Js.

So yeah, F-5C is in the middle of maneuverability for 10.3s in War Thunder.

And just for the lolz: F-4C with gunpod and 4x 9Es:
Like… 11.7 for 440. 13.3 for 600.

Oh, and an honorable mention:
Mig-19S, no missiles, 9.3:
14.7 degrees per second at 420.
16.8 degrees per second at 600.

  1. The temps may be higher, but it is notoriously hard to lock onto, and noticeably cooler than other planes. If you think otherwise, you are wrong.

  2. A flareless F-5C would be a 10.0 plane. One with flares should be 10.7. Personally I think it should keep its flares and go up in BR, I do not want it at 10.0. Thinking it should be 9.7 without flares is unreasonable, considering that would mean it is on par with the Mig-19S (9.7 plane if gaijin properly balanced wt) and the Hunter F.58.

Also slightly unrelated question, how is the Mig-21MF considered to be so good? Am I flying it wrong?


I started typing out reasons for disagreement but you are just really shit at having correct takes. I will not waste my time working with a moron.

Here’s something to nibble on though! The F-4F is not a good dogfighting jet and isn’t ANY BETTER AT IT than the F-4E.


It’s pretty good but not against F-5s.

1- Plume size impacts front aspect locking.
2- No, it’d be 9.7, as all its flareless equivalents are 9.3 and 9.7 currently.
Mig-19S is vastly superior to the F-5C in dogfight performance currently, and that’s likely to not change.

You’re not forced to go full AOA, it’s as good as the F-5C in the dogfight, it just lets you pull more AOA.

Ah yes, the WT community all have takes worse than you. /s

and the F-5C on full rehaet with 2 giant plumes of flame coming out the back is colder by a significant amount than a Sea Harrier not even using water ejection.

As far as I am aware. Exhaust temps are not modeled at all. The game looks only at the engine temps. For example. IRL, it was entirely possible for a harrier to entirely negate a rear-aspect IR shot by angling the nozzles to 30 degrees and then pulling up slightly. This totally hid the engine exhaust from IR seeker head behind the target (say for example like those found on the Aim-9E). I am reasonably confident that in game. You’d still be able to lock on and fire under those conditions.

I think a 1.1-1.2x Temp multiplier needs to be applied to any and all aircraft when on reheat as a short-term stop gap measure until some proper IR overhauls can be done. That way in theory. All aircraft would be nerfed when it comes to sitting on reheat and just dropping flares whenever someone shoots at them would no longer be as effective. They would actually need to throttle down to dry heat, flare and probably jink as well.

Too many times have I see aircraft like the F-5, F-104, Mig-21, etc just defeat a rear-aspect Aim-9L (or even an IRCCM missile like Aim-9M or Magic II), whilst sat on full reheat, with a few flares. Maybe even 1 flare. This is totally and 100% inaccurate (as per these docs The AIM-9 Sidewinder missile - Information & Discussion topic - Page 34 - Aircraft Discussion - War Thunder - Official Forum)


no, quite literally just you at the moment. you speak with the ignorance of someone who has NEVER even played the br with the way you pretend the F-4F is a good dogfighter or that the F-5E is somehow easier to lock onto than a phantom

It’s 2 relatively tiny plumes combined compared to a F-8E’s singular engine.
If engine temps were the only thing that mattered, then F-5E and F-4E would be identical in front aspect flare sensitivity.

Weird, since I have hundreds of battles at 10.3/10.7, and probably well over 1000 battles in the 9.3 - 11.3 range.
F-4F, which is lighter due to not having radar missiles, is indeed as good as the F-5E.

Not sure why you’re posting this as the first ever person on the War Thunder forums to post that; that’s not true currently.

and significantly larger than the no plumes of flames coming out the Pegasus engine and yet its super easy to lock onto a harrier at basically any range and aspect

Personally, I’d consider them about equal in a fight without any missiles. Since the F-5C has missiles, I would put it at a higher BR.

The Mig-19S has a better climbrate, but its guns are much more difficult to aim, and it rips if you pull hard when rolling. This, combined with its lack of roll and rudder usage at high speeds, makes it quite un-ergonomic, and not easy to fly.