Northrop F-5F 5391/30130, testbed of a new era

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Hello everyone,
today I would like to propose you the F-5F 5391/30130.

History of the “Freedom Fighter” in ROCAF service:


In 1963 RoC placed an order for 60 F-5A, these aircrafts were chosen as successor to the famous F-86F. On the twelth of September 1965, the first two aircrafts were delivered to the ROCAF.
The order was eventually complete but not before 1968.
In 1972, due to the Vietnam War, USA asked for 48 F-5As and spare parts, although initially reluctant, RoC decided to cave in to the american request.
As counterfeit it was decided to examine the possibility of a F-5E co-production scheme.
A MoU was signed on 09/02/73, this document stated that USA was to provide a batch of 28 F-5E as replacement for the F-5A that were given by the end of May 1975.
Under the codename “Hu An”(Peace Tiger), it was decided to establish co-production facilities in Taiwan for 100 F-5E/F.
The first unit to receive the second generation F-5 was the 443rd Tactical Fighter Wing in December 1974.
The RoC issued a request to be able to produce a second batch of 42 F-5E and 18 F-5F, this was granted.

F-5F module F and the TC-1 test bed:


During the 80s the combat capacity of the F-5E and F was improved with the addition of Litton ALR-46(V) radar warning receivers, Northrop AVQ-27 designators and Tracor ALE-401(V7) chaff/flare dispendes and some late built aircrafts were modified with the addition of the Tigershark nose.
These aircraft were also equipped with new armament like the AGM-65A Maverick, the laser guided bomb series Paveway II; when it came down to air to air combat they were given the newer AIM-9P4 missiles.
The F-5Fs have been fitted with the Northrop AVQ-27 manual laser target designator to provide an atonomous designation capability for the GBU-12 and the GBU-10.
These new aircraft were designated F-5E module C and F-5F module F.

In the mid 80’ a program was launched to diminish the dependance on USA products. The military-run Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), started the development of a new short range, infra-red guided missile that could be on par with the latest models of the AIM-9 Sidewinder.
The result of this program was a success and the new missile was named Tien Chen 1(Sky Sword) or for short TC-1. Although it never entered service on the F-5, the first test firing of the TC-1 was actually made by an F-5F in April 1986, this was the Northrop F-5F 5391/30130.

F-5F 5391 armament:
-the armament currently featured on the chinese F-5E

-1xGBU-10 Paveway II 2000lb
-4xGBU-12 Paveway II 500lb
-Tien Chen 1


Tien Chen 1 Validation photos:



F-5F module F loadout proof:



In the early 1970’s, Northrop had developed the AN/AVQ-27 Laser Target Designation System, a cockpit mounted site that would have allowed an F-5F aircrew to manually illuminate a target for destruction with the GBU-12s. The system was similar to the AN/AVQ-9 Paveway ALD mounted to the canopy of F-4D during the fledgling days of Paveway employment. The AVQ-27 was even used by Navy Intruders and TA-4Fs in 1972 over South East Asia. It would also be put to use by foreign countries.


from a Chinese publication titled “F-5E/F Tiger Family in RoCAF Chinese Version”
Last image is from local news



ROCAF F-5F 5391 | 志翔科技有限公司| Flickr



China AF
Sky Sword I - Wikipedia


It’s be a good aircraft to play after the F-5E, especially with TC-1’s and GBU’s.

I fear it may become an event vehicle.

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But those canopy-mounted laser designators look sideways… they are meant to designate targets for other aircraft specifically. I really doubt ROCAF F-5Fs ever had fully autonomous LGB capability

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F-5 with GBUs is big Funy and would be awesome. Just anything but event please

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It also mounted TC-2’s.



+1 we need more F-5s

Suggestion passed to the developers for consideration.