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Big-wing F-5s and F-5G/F-20 alternative designs

F-14D

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Due to various factors, I've been away from here for a while and I'm not sure when I can come back regularly or how often, so excuse me if I don't respond to queries.

There absolutely was a plan for a "big wing" Tigershark. It was to be part of the growth plan for the aircraft. The benefits were more weapons flexibility and greater sustained turn, among others. However, it was thought that the cost of developing the new wing would result in too high a unit cost for initial Tigershark sales. So for at least the F-20A&B models there was no thought of incorporating it. Once the plane became known, they might have proceeded with development as customers would be more accepting of a higher price. Some wags suggested that Northrop may have been planning to sell the first version and once customers were hooked, come back with the higher performing big wing to resell to them. I have no knowledge of the veracity of this.

I have actually (legally) seen depictions of the big wing F-20s that were real, not just "what if" musings . You'll have to trust me on this...
 

F-14D

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Sundog said:
Wasn't construction on a fourth F-20 with the larger wing already started when they canceled it? Man, that was sooooo long ago.
The fourth F-20 was to be the first one with the production representative fire control and antenna installed, and I believe number 5 or 6 was to be the first two-seater. Construction of #4 was abandoned when the program was canceled.
 

Sundog

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F-14D said:
Sundog said:
Wasn't construction on a fourth F-20 with the larger wing already started when they canceled it? Man, that was sooooo long ago.
The fourth F-20 was to be the first one with the fire control installed, and I believe number 5 or 6 was to be the first two-seater. Construction of #4 was abandoned when the program was canceled.
Thanks for the info.

Yeah, F-14D's back!
Boo, F-14D's Gone.

You're on sabbatical writing that big post with all the goods on the YA-7F, aren't you? ;)
 

F-14D

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Sundog said:
F-14D said:
Sundog said:
Wasn't construction on a fourth F-20 with the larger wing already started when they canceled it? Man, that was sooooo long ago.
The fourth F-20 was to be the first one with the fire control installed, and I believe number 5 or 6 was to be the first two-seater. Construction of #4 was abandoned when the program was canceled.
Thanks for the info.

Yeah, F-14D's back!
Boo, F-14D's Gone.

You're on sabbatical writing that big post with all the goods on the YA-7F, aren't you? ;)
Actually it will cover more than just the two YA-77F birds. I can summarize their story right here:


USAF: "We are definitely committed to getting the best bird for the CAS/BAI mission possible as long as it's the F-16. Evaluation team, make your report"!

Evaluation Team: "Our analysis indicates that the YA-7F is not an F-16".

USAF: "Then it does not meet our requirements and we are not interested. Come to think of it, we really aren't that interested in CAS/BAI, either. But as long as we're here, can we have some more money for pure fighters, please"?

More to come...
 

F-14D

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taildragger said:
My understanding, not based on any inside knowledge, is that the F-5G/F-20 was to be an export fighter with less offensive capability than the F-16 or F-18. This was encouraged by the Carter administration, which was reluctant about arms sales anyway, but was probably particularly motivated by the need to arm Taiwan in a way that minimized upset to the newly recognized PRC. GD responded to the same requirement with the F-16/79 which probably would have been less attractive to small airforces just because it was so obviously a deliberately second-rate aircraft for allies that couldn't be trusted with the good stuff.
The F-20 was a bet on continuation of the Carter foreign policy. A bigger wing would have confered a greater turnrate but also increased the payload/range capability and so moved it out of the intended market niche. When the Reagan administation liberalized arms sales, that niche largely disappeared and the F-20 wound up in a competition with the F-16 for which it wasn't intended.
I'm only here for a little bit this time, but I'd like to clear this up. The F-20 was always designed to be generally more capable than the F-16A/B except in raw low speed acceleration (if the F100s held together) and payload/range at altitude. In fact, in many ways it was the equal of and in certain areas superior to the F-16C/D. However, the Carter policy opposed offering such a capable aircraft, saying that nations of a certain category needed to be satisfied with lesser capability aircraft, hence the F-16/79 which generated zero interest. Northrop disguised the Tigershark by asking it to be designated the F-5G, implying that it was simply an F-5E with some changes when it reality it was a lot more. All Carter's policy did was insult potential allies, who just planned to go elsewhere. Reagan's policy was more realistic. GD could now offer F-16 A/Bs (and maybe C/Ds to a few). Northrop now could openly promote the Tigershark's full potential and wanted to get away from the image of a "duded up" F-5E, so petitioned for a new aircraft designation. The next one in sequence was F-20, so that's what they got.

Why the F-20 didn't sell is a story for another place, but it wasn't because of a niche disappearing or its capabilities relative to the F-16
 

Kadija_Man

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BillRo said:
In 1978 Northrop Advanced Design was at work developing the single F-404 engined F-5 which became the Tigershark. Lee Begin was working in the F-18L project but was scandalized that Northrop would consider a single engined fighter. He had us F-18L guys do this design for a SuperTiger with a shoulder wing (more pylons and stores capability) and a cobra LEX and inlet. We did not succeed in selling the idea except for the improved rearward visibility which appeared on Tigershark.

BillRo
I've been looking at these pictures for a long time and trying to figure out how the undercarriage would work in the high wing design. Does anybody have any ideas/suggestions or was that just an inconvenient problem which wasn't really considered as part of the design problem?
 

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Rickshaw...you may have been right on the lack of foresight Northrop had for spacing requirements for the gear stowage, but looking at drawings of the Alphajet (as an example of a highwing jet trainer) and the original F-20 inlet ducting, there may have been adequate space. Trailing link landing gear systems can be made fairly compact. Maybe someone else with drawings of the high wing F-5G could elborate.
 

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Sundog

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F-14D said:
Sundog said:
F-14D said:
Sundog said:
Wasn't construction on a fourth F-20 with the larger wing already started when they canceled it? Man, that was sooooo long ago.
The fourth F-20 was to be the first one with the fire control installed, and I believe number 5 or 6 was to be the first two-seater. Construction of #4 was abandoned when the program was canceled.
Thanks for the info.

Yeah, F-14D's back!
Boo, F-14D's Gone.

You're on sabbatical writing that big post with all the goods on the YA-7F, aren't you? ;)
Actually it will cover more than just the two Y?A-77F birds. I can summarize their story right here:


USAF: "We are definitely committed to getting the best bird for the CAS/BAI mission possible as long as it's the F-16. Evaluation team, make your report"!

Evaluation Team: "Our analysis indicates that the YA-7F is not an F-16".

USAF: "Then it does not meet our requirements and we are not interested. Come to think of it, we really aren't that interested in CAS/BAI, either. But as long as we're here, can we have some more money for pure fighters, please"?

More to come...
LOL, that is so true. Just look at how often they've tried to kill the A-10 but haven't been able to because it does it's job so well. In fact, I think if Fairchild-Republic was still in existence, they would have been able to push more A-10's on the military as a result of how effective they've been. Of course, the USAF would have hated that. It's a shame the NAWS variant never made it into production.
 

F-14D

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Sundog said:
LOL, that is so true. Just look at how often they've tried to kill the A-10 but haven't been able to because it does it's job so well. In fact, I think if Fairchild-Republic was still in existence, they would have been able to push more A-10's on the military as a result of how effective they've been. Of course, the USAF would have hated that. It's a shame the NAWS variant never made it into production.
Actually, they were killing the A-10 in 1989-90. Had Gulf War I not intruded with its annoying phenomena of reality, the A-10 (except for a few OA-10s) would have been gone by 1993-95
 

taildragger

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F-14D said:
taildragger said:
My understanding, not based on any inside knowledge, is that the F-5G/F-20 was to be an export fighter with less offensive capability than the F-16 or F-18. This was encouraged by the Carter administration, which was reluctant about arms sales anyway, but was probably particularly motivated by the need to arm Taiwan in a way that minimized upset to the newly recognized PRC. GD responded to the same requirement with the F-16/79 which probably would have been less attractive to small airforces just because it was so obviously a deliberately second-rate aircraft for allies that couldn't be trusted with the good stuff.
The F-20 was a bet on continuation of the Carter foreign policy. A bigger wing would have confered a greater turnrate but also increased the payload/range capability and so moved it out of the intended market niche. When the Reagan administation liberalized arms sales, that niche largely disappeared and the F-20 wound up in a competition with the F-16 for which it wasn't intended.
I'm only here for a little bit this time, but I'd like to clear this up. The F-20 was always designed to be generally more capable than the F-16A/B except in raw low speed acceleration (if the F100s held together) and payload/range at altitude. In fact, in many ways it was the equal of and in certain areas superior to the F-16C/D. However, the Carter policy opposed offering such a capable aircraft, saying that nations of a certain category needed to be satisfied with lesser capability aircraft, hence the F-16/79 which generated zero interest. Northrop disguised the Tigershark by asking it to be designated the F-5G, implying that it was simply an F-5E with some changes when it reality it was a lot more. All Carter's policy did was insult potential allies, who just planned to go elsewhere. Reagan's policy was more realistic. GD could now offer F-16 A/Bs (and maybe C/Ds to a few). Northrop now could openly promote the Tigershark's full potential and wanted to get away from the image of a "duded up" F-5E, so petitioned for a new aircraft designation. The next one in sequence was F-20, so that's what they got.

Why the F-20 didn't sell is a story for another place, but it wasn't because of a niche disappearing or its capabilities relative to the F-16
F-14D,
Thanks for clearing that up. But isn't "more capable than the F-16A/B except in ...... payload/range at altitude" a polite way of saying "less offensive capability than the F-16"? I can only think of a few reasons for deliberately designing the airplane to be inferior to the F-16 in this regard:
1. A bigger wing would have degraded other performance parameters, resulting in less capability overall
2. The expense of developing a bigger wing would have ruined the business case for the project
3. Northrop knew of a lot of nations seeking to limit the offensive capability of their own air forces
4. The inferior offensive capability would make it easier to gain export approval (and deny the same to GD) for sales to smaller nations where Northrop had prospered with the F-5.
Number 4 makes the most sense to me, but it's just speculation. I suspect that the decisions positioning the F-5G/F-20 relative to the F-16 were made by very senior management and the board of directors at Northrop and then, like most commercial strategy, not explained widely. I wasn't in the room but would love to hear from someone who was.
 

F-14D

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taildragger said:
F-14D said:
taildragger said:
My understanding, not based on any inside knowledge, is that the F-5G/F-20 was to be an export fighter with less offensive capability than the F-16 or F-18. This was encouraged by the Carter administration, which was reluctant about arms sales anyway, but was probably particularly motivated by the need to arm Taiwan in a way that minimized upset to the newly recognized PRC. GD responded to the same requirement with the F-16/79 which probably would have been less attractive to small airforces just because it was so obviously a deliberately second-rate aircraft for allies that couldn't be trusted with the good stuff.
The F-20 was a bet on continuation of the Carter foreign policy. A bigger wing would have confered a greater turnrate but also increased the payload/range capability and so moved it out of the intended market niche. When the Reagan administation liberalized arms sales, that niche largely disappeared and the F-20 wound up in a competition with the F-16 for which it wasn't intended.
I'm only here for a little bit this time, but I'd like to clear this up. The F-20 was always designed to be generally more capable than the F-16A/B except in raw low speed acceleration (if the F100s held together) and payload/range at altitude. In fact, in many ways it was the equal of and in certain areas superior to the F-16C/D. However, the Carter policy opposed offering such a capable aircraft, saying that nations of a certain category needed to be satisfied with lesser capability aircraft, hence the F-16/79 which generated zero interest. Northrop disguised the Tigershark by asking it to be designated the F-5G, implying that it was simply an F-5E with some changes when it reality it was a lot more. All Carter's policy did was insult potential allies, who just planned to go elsewhere. Reagan's policy was more realistic. GD could now offer F-16 A/Bs (and maybe C/Ds to a few). Northrop now could openly promote the Tigershark's full potential and wanted to get away from the image of a "duded up" F-5E, so petitioned for a new aircraft designation. The next one in sequence was F-20, so that's what they got.

Why the F-20 didn't sell is a story for another place, but it wasn't because of a niche disappearing or its capabilities relative to the F-16
F-14D,
Thanks for clearing that up. But isn't "more capable than the F-16A/B except in ...... payload/range at altitude" a polite way of saying "less offensive capability than the F-16"? I can only think of a few reasons for deliberately designing the airplane to be inferior to the F-16 in this regard:
1. A bigger wing would have degraded other performance parameters, resulting in less capability overall
2. The expense of developing a bigger wing would have ruined the business case for the project
3. Northrop knew of a lot of nations seeking to limit the offensive capability of their own air forces
4. The inferior offensive capability would make it easier to gain export approval (and deny the same to GD) for sales to smaller nations where Northrop had prospered with the F-5.
Number 4 makes the most sense to me, but it's just speculation. I suspect that the decisions positioning the F-5G/F-20 relative to the F-16 were made by very senior management and the board of directors at Northrop and then, like most commercial strategy, not explained widely. I wasn't in the room but would love to hear from someone who was.

Payload/range is just one component of an aircraft's capability. Aircraft intended for US service tended to have longer ranges because of the nature of US needs. That's one of the reasons they tend to be so big. I remember the first time I saw a Tornado in the flesh. I was shocked at how small it was, given what it could carry. The F-20 was not designed with US service in mind; rather it needed to have sufficient range for those in its target market. This it had. This also allowed it to be lighter and get away with a smaller, and better, engine. For those who needed or wanted further range, and had access to tankers, air refueling was an option. Regarding your other points:

1. The limited extra drag of the bigger wing itself would be compensated for. It might have had a slight effect at top speed, but how long does anyone spend at Mach 2? It wouldn't be on the A/B models for intial cost reasons, but there are two other reasons: Jimmy Carter's stupid "Export Fighter" program required a modification of an existing aircraft that wasn't too capable. That was the reason for the initial designation of F-5G, to hide from Washington what was essentially a new aircraft. If Northrop's initial design had a new wing it would probably have run afoul of President Peanut's people and been stopped. In addition, with the implementation and testing of a new wing, initial availability would have been delayed beyond where Northrop needed it to be.

2. The bigger wing would have brought with it a number of benefits. Yes, the cost would be higher, it would be up to Northrop to make the case that the extra benefits would be worth the extra cost. I wonder, though, if the Carter limitations hadn't been there to begin with whether they might not have gone for it from the start. The aircraft would still be less expensive than the competition.

3. I'm not sure I follow this.

4. The whole point of the F-20 was exports--it came out of the export fighter program. It was designed with a different method of integrating weapons so that the US could control which weapons it could use. Of course, the State De pratmen would get involved. That's one reason why the Taiwan sale wasn't allowed (although interestingly enough the US thought it was just fine for money to go to GD to help Taiwan develop the Ching-kuo Indigenous Defense Fighter). Had that gone through, the F-20 would have sold worldwide Given USAF involvement, I can't think of any country the US would let buy the F-20 they wouldn't also allow the F-16.

The F-20 design and capabilities were based on the export market. It was more capable than the F-16A/B and in some areas could match or exceed the just entering service F-16C/D.
 

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Ok I dug into boxes in the garage and came up with a simple 3 view of the Super Tiger. We thought a little about the MLG and this drawing shows it stowing in the fuselage. On the low wing F-5 the wing box fits in a slot in the bottom of the fuselage and that space becomes available with a high wing design.
 

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BillRo said:
Ok I dug into boxes in the garage and came up with a simple 3 view of the Super Tiger. We thought a little about the MLG and this drawing shows it stowing in the fuselage. On the low wing F-5 the wing box fits in a slot in the bottom of the fuselage and that space becomes available with a high wing design.

Thanks - that really does look like F-5 and P-530 put in a blender.
 

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What I found the most interesting in those pics were the markings; Taiwan and Sweden. They could have had the Gripen twenty years earlier.
 

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Bill, thank you as always!
 

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Here is a diagram showing the "Big Wing" (220 sq ft vs 186 sq ft) from an aero report from 1975 on the performance benefits. It was actually prepared for a Saudi F-5F and it mentions the F-5G. Engineering was obviously aware of the big wing when working the F-5G but decided not to make such a big step. It was a Northrop funded program which obviously played a part in the decision, since apparently all new surfaces would have been required as well as the new inlets and aft fuselage for the F404. There were no plans to incorporate it later as far as I know and the only thing we looked at was the two place variant. http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,15675.0.html
 

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Pioneer

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BillRo said:
Here is a diagram showing the "Big Wing" (220 sq ft vs 186 sq ft) from an aero report from 1975 on the performance benefits. It was actually prepared for a Saudi F-5F and it mentions the F-5G. Engineering was obviously aware of the big wing when working the F-5G but decided not to make such a big step. It was a Northrop funded program which obviously played a part in the decision, since apparently all new surfaces would have been required as well as the new inlets and aft fuselage for the F404. There were no plans to incorporate it later as far as I know and the only thing we looked at was the two place variant. http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,15675.0.html
Hey fantastic find BillRo!!I have been looking for such a comparison drawing of the 'big wing' Tigershark for years!!

Regards
Pioneer
 
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224883061

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BillRo said:
Here is a diagram showing the "Big Wing" (220 sq ft vs 186 sq ft) from an aero report from 1975 on the performance benefits. It was actually prepared for a Saudi F-5F and it mentions the F-5G. Engineering was obviously aware of the big wing when working the F-5G but decided not to make such a big step. It was a Northrop funded program which obviously played a part in the decision, since apparently all new surfaces would have been required as well as the new inlets and aft fuselage for the F404. There were no plans to incorporate it later as far as I know and the only thing we looked at was the two place variant. http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,15675.0.html

tanks BillRO. this drawing very nice. i don't know, why northrop not use this wing in the f-20 fighter. f-20 comparison with other fighter same class for example T/A-50 and FC-1 (around 250 sq feet wing area), have small wing area(200 sq feet). ???
 

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I believe it was cost. They would have had to design and build the bigger wing as well as a new horizontal tail. The program was paid for by Northrop, and I think the cost of that and the additional testing that would have been required exceeded what they were prepared to spend. I remember we had to fight like hell just to get them to change the canopy to improve rearward vision.

BillRo
 

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flateric said:
Probably the best post of the month. Bunch thanks!
Next cutaway drawing by Motocar in Artwork thread
 

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I put my hands to the mouse ...! Coming premiere the F-5s Big-Wing
 

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I'm waiting with baited breath Motocar!! :p

Regards
Pioneer
 

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Cutaway Norhtrop F-5 Super Wing "Super Tiger" version with wing larger and repositioned halfway up the now shorter fuselage, now the landing gear was placed in the fuselage with retraction forward leaving space for a new hard point , being increased to six the total number of hard points in the same author Mike Badrocke and modified by Motocar to recreate this interesting proposal Northrop light fighter
 

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Okay, one subject I haven't seen mentioned is a proposal that was floated by the Support Engineering group at Northrop for an enhanced and enlarged two-seat F-5 with increased wingspan, an extra hard-point on each wing, and power from two afterburning GE J97s, An older gent, he'd started with Northrop when Jack was still there, I worked with on TSSAM had been there and had model pictures and documentation. It would've maintained performance while getting the wing-loading back down to that of the F-5A. Even with the model and documentation, it didn't come to management the "normal" way and died.

I really need to see if I can find the data on that one. If memory serves me correctly (and it's been two decades since I worked at Northrop) they had labeled the concept "F-5H".
 

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Have you looked through Flying Wings and Radical Things as there are many big wing F-5 variants shown throughout. I was wondering if your friend was thinking of the High Lift F-5, as that would have been "HL"?
 

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elmayerle said:
Okay, one subject I haven't seen mentioned is a proposal that was floated by the Support Engineering group at Northrop for an enhanced and enlarged two-seat F-5 with increased wingspan, an extra hard-point on each wing, and power from two afterburning GE J97s, An older gent, he'd started with Northrop when Jack was still there, I worked with on TSSAM had been there and had model pictures and documentation. It would've maintained performance while getting the wing-loading back down to that of the F-5A. Even with the model and documentation, it didn't come to management the "normal" way and died.

I really need to see if I can find the data on that one. If memory serves me correctly (and it's been two decades since I worked at Northrop) they had labeled the concept "F-5H".
Do you have a copy of the new Northrop book?
 

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In Northrop white world Advanced Design we called the 2-Place F-5G the F-5H.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,15675.0.html.
Thank you Motocar for bringing that F-5S design to life - considering it was an illicit project done by Lee Begin and the F-18L design group (in competition with Bob S and Advanced Design who were doing the F-5G) and the total engineering effort consisted of the three view and the model.
 

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BillRo said:
In Northrop white world Advanced Design we called the 2-Place F-5G the F-5H.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,15675.0.html.
Thank you Motocar for bringing that F-5S design to life - considering it was an illicit project done by Lee Begin and the F-18L design group (in competition with Bob S and Advanced Design who were doing the F-5G) and the total engineering effort consisted of the three view and the model.
That is the intention BillRa recreate those model airplanes that were in the pipeline or only as projects, or lack their schematic court, but is merely speculative can see many details of engineering in each job. Motocar
 

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Posted this in the F-20 thread, but maybe belongs here too ? :

Found this image :
image.jpeg
A mix of F/A-18 (wings, nose cockpit, intakes) and F-20 (single engine, fin).
its included in this PDF :
5740.pdf
Looks very detailed to be just generic fighter done for the PDF
 
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That does look like the Super Tiger F-5S - perhaps a contemporary John Binden sketch. Where was it found?
 

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That does look like the Super Tiger F-5S - perhaps a contemporary John Binden sketch. Where was it found?
Found on page 5 this PDF , I posted above. Titled "Infrared signature studies of aerospace vehicles", from Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology—Bombay.

Not related to the F-5/F-20 in particular, so I suppose they took that image from somewhere else... but where ? Sorry dunno.
 

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Not related to the F-5/F-20 in particular, so I suppose they took that image from somewhere else... but where ? Sorry dunno.

It's a generic illustration of fighter from "The Fundamentals of Aircraft Combat Survivability, Analysis and Design" Figure 4.6a in page 463 of the book.
 

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Not related to the F-5/F-20 in particular, so I suppose they took that image from somewhere else... but where ? Sorry dunno.

It's a generic illustration of fighter from "The Fundamentals of Aircraft Combat Survivability, Analysis and Design" Figure 4.6a in page 463 of the book.
Ahh... Nothing to do with F-5/F-20 :/
Sorry then.
 
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