• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Northrop F-5G / F-20 Tigershark

F-14D

I really did change my personal text
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2007
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
137
TomS said:
It might be the pylon rather than the pod. I've certainly seen comments by people associated with the program who say the real reason for the withdrawal was that the pilots didn't like the mission profile and that the vibration issue was just an acceptable excuse. The fact that the version deployed to ODS didn't have the software to do CCIP aiming with the pod was probably also a major factor.

Again, just popping in for a moment. Pilot not liking the mission wouldn't be a factor for the F-20. The idea was to sell as many of them as they could, and if a potential customer with cash wanted a 30mm cannon, then here was a way to give it to them. As I recall from another life back then, though, the problem was that the thing just wasn't that accurate because of vibration and flexing. All the modern sighting systems in the world aren't going to help you if the gun isn't stably pointing where you think it is.
 

Triton

Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
9,719
Reaction score
557
Website
deeptowild.blogspot.com
Northrop F-20 Tigershark model

In-house Northrop F-20 Tigershark model manufactured by Northrop Model Shop on sale on eBay.

Source:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Northrop-F-20-Aircraft-Airplane-Desk-Model-In-house-Factory-Tigershark-USAF-1-20-/302248529374?hash=item465f6a8dde:g:hRsAAOSwLEtYimrB

Seller's description:
Model: Original Northrop F-20 Tigershark In-house Factory Model

Manufacture: Northrop Model Shop (Hawthorne, CA).

Description: For your consideration is this very
Original Factory Northrop Aircraft in-house F-20 model (1980's). The F-20 is painted the factory in-house colors. This particular model was used as a trade show model and was built with a threaded screw hole located at the center of gravity on the top of the fuselage, allowing it to displayed from above. This model never had a stand, but there is a hole in the tailpipe if you choose to display it on a stand.

Composition: One piece painted fiberglass display model.

Dimensions: The fuselage is 37.5 inches long with a wingspan of 21.0 inches.

Scale: 1/20

Condition: Very clean model. Paint is in excellent condition. No chips, paint loss, fading, or repairs. The model does have some decal deterioration and the left sidewinder missile has damaged fins (see photos). This is a rare find in this condition.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

All sales Final

Call me with any questions at 310-487-9100
 

Attachments

  • s-l1600j.jpg
    s-l1600j.jpg
    114.5 KB · Views: 130
  • s-l1600i.jpg
    s-l1600i.jpg
    103.9 KB · Views: 86
  • s-l1600h.jpg
    s-l1600h.jpg
    87.5 KB · Views: 73
  • s-l1600g.jpg
    s-l1600g.jpg
    97.3 KB · Views: 68
  • s-l1600f.jpg
    s-l1600f.jpg
    109.3 KB · Views: 69
  • s-l1600e.jpg
    s-l1600e.jpg
    108.2 KB · Views: 96
  • s-l1600d.jpg
    s-l1600d.jpg
    111.7 KB · Views: 437
  • s-l1600c.jpg
    s-l1600c.jpg
    122.8 KB · Views: 457
  • s-l1600b.jpg
    s-l1600b.jpg
    74.5 KB · Views: 479
  • s-l1600.jpg
    s-l1600.jpg
    101.5 KB · Views: 490

Triton

Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
9,719
Reaction score
557
Website
deeptowild.blogspot.com
Re: Northrop F-20 Tigershark model

In-house Northrop F-20 Tigershark model manufactured by Northrop Model Shop on sale on eBay.
 

Attachments

  • s-l1600k.jpg
    s-l1600k.jpg
    73.1 KB · Views: 136
  • s-l1600l.jpg
    s-l1600l.jpg
    62.8 KB · Views: 127

Foo Fighter

I came, I saw, I drank some tea (and had a bun).
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
664
https://www.docdroid.net/aZzq33t/northrop-f-20a-utility-flight-manual.pdf
 

RAP

ACCESS: Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Messages
686
Reaction score
396
...
 

Attachments

  • a.jpg
    a.jpg
    488.6 KB · Views: 130
  • b.jpg
    b.jpg
    266 KB · Views: 135
  • c.jpg
    c.jpg
    390 KB · Views: 150
  • d.jpg
    d.jpg
    459 KB · Views: 161
  • e.jpg
    e.jpg
    558.6 KB · Views: 156
  • f.jpg
    f.jpg
    452.3 KB · Views: 158
  • g.jpg
    g.jpg
    556.2 KB · Views: 159
  • h.jpg
    h.jpg
    446.4 KB · Views: 147
  • i.jpg
    i.jpg
    784.5 KB · Views: 150

RAP

ACCESS: Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Messages
686
Reaction score
396
...
 

Attachments

  • untitled.png
    untitled.png
    2.8 MB · Views: 154

galgot

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
952
Reaction score
1,010
Website
galgot.com
Rare picture of the three F-20 prototypes.
Always thought there was only two prototypes !
Btw, I remember reading that dark grey one was painted using a BMW paint.
 

Dynoman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
911
Reaction score
266
The only surviving F-20 (82-0064) is on display at the California Science Center. The other two were destroyed in crashes in Suwon, South Korea and Goose Bay, Canada (both pilots killed, Northrop Chief Test Pilot Darrell Cornell and Northrop Test Pilot David Barnes, respectively).

 

Archibald

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
4,431
Reaction score
1,934
Me too, never realized there were three prototypes. And two lethal crashes, what a waste and a total heartbreak, really.
For such a good aircraft.
The entire story is somewhat unnerving.
But there is far worse than that, actually. To think Northrop, which sold 2500 F-5A to F-5E plus all these T-38s - like hot cakes, was really screwed THRICE in TEN YEARS (1977-1987) with THREE excellent machines.
- F-17
- F-18L
- F-20
Unbelievable, really. MDD screwed them twice with the Hornet, so they turned back toward improving their best-selling F-5 only to fail again, this time again the F-16 ADF.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
Me too, never realized there were three prototypes. And two lethal crashes, what a waste and a total heartbreak, really.
For such a good aircraft.
The entire story is somewhat unnerving.
But there is far worse than that, actually. To think Northrop, which sold 2500 F-5A to F-5E plus all these T-38s - like hot cakes, was really screwed THRICE in TEN YEARS (1977-1987) with THREE excellent machines.
- F-17
- F-18L
- F-20
Unbelievable, really. MDD screwed them twice with the Hornet, so they turned back toward improving their best-selling F-5 only to fail again, this time again the F-16 ADF.
You could add the YF-23 to that list :)
 

BillRo

ACCESS: Confidential
Senior Member
Joined
May 12, 2008
Messages
198
Reaction score
158
Northrop was/is? a tough company and even with setbacks they thrived with good production contracts -747, F-5, F-18A, F-18E/F/G, F-35. Who would have predicted that they would have ended up as one of the big 3 surviving aircraft companies?
 

Silencer1

That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
Joined
Aug 3, 2009
Messages
632
Reaction score
132
Northrop was/is? a tough company and even with setbacks they thrived with good production contracts -747, F-5, F-18A, F-18E/F/G, F-35. Who would have predicted that they would have ended up as one of the big 3 surviving aircraft companies?
Hi!
Add B-2 to this list, please!
There were a number of companies, and good aircraft, that suffered occasional crashes - that prevent them to progress further, obtain orders and so on. We could wrote a long list of them...
Very sad to owners, designers and employees, quite emotional to aviation's enthusiasts.
P.S. That's why many of us are on this forum
 

RAP

ACCESS: Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Messages
686
Reaction score
396
Northrop was working on no. 4 when program ended.
 

Attachments

  • 4th f20.png
    4th f20.png
    151.2 KB · Views: 93

rooster

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
202
Reaction score
69
Northrop was/is? a tough company and even with setbacks they thrived with good production contracts -747, F-5, F-18A, F-18E/F/G, F-35. Who would have predicted that they would have ended up as one of the big 3 surviving aircraft companies?

I never saw the demise MDD and Grumman. Those are 2 companies that REALLY got "screwed" to use that term. A little offbeat company called Lockheed ran away with the USAF's next 2 fighters after not building a fighter since the Strarfghter, which never was bought in big quantities by the US and was only a fighter if you squinted your eyes real hard.

The Tigershark never had a chance against the Falcon in the US. Northrop management should have known that. The F-18 is a testament to Northrop's expertise and could have plausibly won against the YF-16.

The US government is why Grumman bit the dust. MDD is less clear to me.

But Tigershark must have been Sprey's and Boyd's wet dream, but that's all.

Too bad NG bowed out of the TX. I think in the back of my mind they built their prototype just to do a little showing off. Beautiful plane that looked like a hotrod and maybe could have served in combat roles. I don't really understand the reasons why they pulled the plug so fast after it flew.
 

Dynoman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
911
Reaction score
266
The forth prototype was supposed to have increased thrust, up to 18,000 lb. st, increased fuel capacity, redesigned LE and TE flaps, and a larger radar antenna for the General Electric AN/APG-67 (V).
 

apparition13

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
174
Reaction score
214
The forth prototype was supposed to have increased thrust, up to 18,000 lb. st, increased fuel capacity, redesigned LE and TE flaps, and a larger radar antenna for the General Electric AN/APG-67 (V).
Somewhere or other (I can't find it now) I saw a drawing of the F-5 program development plan. It had the F-5 G/H (single/two seat), followed by the F-5 J/K with a 20% larger 240 square foot wing, then the F-5 L/M with a 19k thrust engine. The fourth prototype sounds similar to the F-5 L/M planned development. It's a real shame it never flew.
 

Pioneer

Seek out and close with the enemy
Senior Member
Joined
May 22, 2006
Messages
1,896
Reaction score
241
The forth prototype was supposed to have increased thrust, up to 18,000 lb. st, increased fuel capacity, redesigned LE and TE flaps, and a larger radar antenna for the General Electric AN/APG-67 (V).
Wouldn't it be fantastic to see Northrop Model Shop (Hawthorne, CA) do a model of this!!!

Regards
Pioneer
 
Last edited:

rooster

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
202
Reaction score
69
The forth prototype was supposed to have increased thrust, up to 18,000 lb. st, increased fuel capacity, redesigned LE and TE flaps, and a larger radar antenna for the General Electric AN/APG-67 (V).
Wouldn't it be fantastic to see Northrop Model Shop (Hawthorne, CA) do a model of this!!!

Regards
Pioneer
I would love to see their modelshop, period. Natgeo did a special on NG building a rcs model of the German flying wing, and was a real treat for those guys to do something that wasn't classified. Very wonderful glimpse into NG and model building!
 

aim9xray

ACCESS: Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
572
Reaction score
214
A Request For Assistance:

Did anyone save the rather detailed "F-20 Chronology" that was posted (I think) on the old F-20.net website? I though I had saved it, but I suppose not...

Thanks in advance!
 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
A Request For Assistance:

Did anyone save the rather detailed "F-20 Chronology" that was posted (I think) on the old F-20.net website? I though I had saved it, but I suppose not...

Thanks in advance!

F-20 Tigershark Program Chronology
  • May 1975 - F-5/404 concept proposed in adv design by Sandusky/Brock/Gay - engine change only

  • July 1975 - F-5/404 Program Description Document released by Advance Design to VP Technical

  • August 1975 - Through Sep 77 low level studies - minimal Mafia activity

  • January 1977 - Carter Inauguration

  • May 1977 - Carter issues Presidential Directive 13 prohibiting the development of new aircraft or the modification of existing aircraft solely for export.

  • September 1977 - Management Council interest in 404 prompts alternate engine studies by Walt Fellers. Source data in 3450 IR&D; reports plus others

  • December 1977 - Alternate twin engine studies by Walt Feller to Management Council. Comparison generated by Advance Design/F-5 Engineering support.

  • March 1978 - F-5X studies concluded.

  • May 1978 - Further Fellers briefings to Management Council on twin engine studies.

  • June 1978 - F-5X Single 404 decision by Gasich.

  • July 1978 - Briefing to General Ahern by Paul Holliday. USAF expresses interest in F-5G for Taiwan.

  • July 1978 - Taiwan/ROC initial defense study concluded.

  • August 1978 - AWX study concluded.

  • August 1978 - First Northrop RWA (Risk Work Authorization) approved.

  • September 1978 - New radar, gun added by F-5 Project Engineering - Wheeler/McDowell/Kuska

  • September 1978 - Alternate radar/gun trade study proposed by Sandusky

  • October 1978 - Carter vetoes F-5G for Taiwan.

  • January 1979 - NB 79-11 Family of Tigers G vs. F-4E(S), threat A--M Coons Taiwan/Korea

  • February 1979 - Radar/gun trade study briefing to TO management by Pierre Sprey

  • February 1979 - Briefings by Blood/Heath NB 79-5R and NB 79-11R F-5G vs. F-5E,...F-104,F-4E(S).

  • March 1979 - Redirection of Northop Design to ECO (engine change only)

  • April 1979 - Initial Northrop business plan published with following salient features: 1. Fund nonrecurring effort 2. Recover at fixed unit price 3. Negotiate fixed payment schedule 4. Non-refundable initial payment 5. Economic price adjustment 6. Recognition of cost of capital 7. Recognition of increased profit

  • April 1979 - Thailand and Korea briefings - Blood - G vs. E, F-4E, Threat A+

  • May 1979 - Return to Engine Only baseline decision by Gasich

  • May 1979 - Korea briefing - G radar capability - J Hill NB 79-90

  • May 1979 - Taiwan briefing - G radar capability - J Hill NB 79-89

  • May 1979 - ANG briefing, G vs. E, F-4E, threat A+, Don Crane NB 79-108

  • May 1979 - Airstart assist study NOR 79-54-1, Walt Keller

  • May 1979 - Northrop low speed wind tunnel .192 scale inlet pre-test report Calof/Beaulieu

  • July 1979 - NB 79-98R F-5 Planned Improvement Program. Vol. 1 Exec Summary; Vol. II Prog Desc: -1 Tech Desc; -2 Prog Plan; -3 ILS Plan; Vol III Business Plan Appendix A (Se... Note: This document was the result of many stops and starts - radar in/out, ECO, etc.

  • July 1979 - NB-79-135 F-5 Improvement Program Aircraft Description - Parmar/Brock/Kuska ITAR Clearance document published in Feb. 80 as NB 79-135R

  • July 1979 - CINCPAC briefing - Blood - F-5 family NB79-142

  • July 1979 - Test plan for .192 scale is.... inlet model in Northrop high speed wind tunnel... Johnson/Huff

  • August 1979 - USAF Validation F-5G ECO configuration

  • August 1979 - USAF Dayton briefing F-5 Improvement Program G vs. E Tom Rooney NB79-151

  • August 1979 - Defense Science Board Newport RI basis for Corporate Development Policy. F-5A/B Prog 62-76, E,F,RF 70-80, and G program business aspects. M. Gonzalez.

  • September 1979 - Sweden briefing F-5 family NB 79-169 Rooney/Brock

  • October 1979 - Initiate Chief Designer (Fellers) review

  • October 1979 - Dr. Hans Mark briefing - air battle potential G vs. threats (secret) E Riccioni NB-79-180

  • October 1979 - F-5G/F404-GE-F1G1 propulsion requirements NOR 79-107 Rev 6/80

  • November 1979 - F-16/79 details released to the press

  • November 1979 - Dr. Hans Mark briefing improved F-5E - the F-5G export fighter - Frank Compton NB 79-186

  • January 1980 - Revision to PD 13 to allow aircraft to be developed or modified solely for export at no cost to US government. F-X to be between F-5E and F-16 in capability.

  • January 1980 - Initiate Advance Systems (Patierno) wing study.

  • January 1980 - Northrop RWA funded for full go ahead

  • January 1980 - Long lead time material procurement initiated

  • January 1980 - Systems and components lab tests initiated.

  • January 1980 - First F-16 delivered to Denmark.

  • February 1980 - Briefing SPO on business plan. Introduced flat pricing approach.

  • February 1980 - Conclude Chief Designer review and ECO configuration

  • February 1980 - Conclude advanced systems wing study.

  • February 1980 - Israel first F-16 delivery

  • February 1980 - briefed General Poe HQ AFLC on business plan.

  • March 1980 - Redirection of Northrop design to ECO

  • March 1980 - Begin fab/assembly of Engineering Development Fixture

  • March 1980 - Tool design initiated.

  • March 1980 - Initial WBS issued.`

  • April 1980 - Briefed General Secord / HQ USAF on business plan.

  • April 1980 - USAF/ASD Fighter Attack SPO evaluation of F-5G design.

  • April 1980 - Conclude initial 1/10 scale high speed force model wind tunnel tests concluded.

  • April 1980 - Production Development Center contractor selected.

  • April 1980 - Start engineering/operations drawing release negotiation.

  • April 1980 - Program Directive 1 issued to provide basic philosophies, assumptions, and direction. PD 2,3 Apr 80, PD 4 May 81.

  • May 1980 - PDC detailed design initiated.

  • May 1980 - PD 2 issued. Authorization of RWA coverage for procurement of 41 F-5G shipsets of common F-5E/G raw material.

  • June 1980 - Northrop submitted draft advance agreement to SPO covering business arrangements and policies applicable to program.

  • July 1980 - Tool fabrication initiated.

  • July 1980 - PDC groundbreaking/grading initiated.

  • July 1980 - F-5E/G common drawing release.

  • August 1980 - Response to Taiwan RFI (P and R data).

  • August 1980 - Manufacturing Project Plan completed and published.

  • August 1980 - PD 3 issued to establish use of PROCAT with model designation "GG"

  • August 1980 - PD 4 issued to release the Program Master Operating Schedule.

  • August 1980 - PD 5 issued to establish a Corrective Action Plan for possible tooling problems on early F-5G aircraft.

  • August 1980 - PD 6 issued to hold in abeyance the ground rule on deferral of non-mandatory and rate tooling pending outcome of tooling policy review.

  • August 1980 - Integrated digital avionics configuration (-2) baseline defined.

  • October 1980 - HQ USAF directed SPO to negotiate memorandum of agreement with Northrop detailing the relationship between Northrop and SPO and the planned Northrop procurement approach.

  • October 1980 - Briefing Gen. Stansbury / AFSC-DCS and James Williams / Deputy Assistant Secretary AF on business plan.

  • September 1980 - PD 7 issued (configuration management) to define ground rules on nomenclature, configuration management plan, configuration board, and F-5G common drawing release.

  • October 1980 - Initial F-5G Integrated Logistic Support Plan completed - published.

  • October 1980 - ATCS - AMAG - ECS - FCES subcontracts let.

  • November 1980 - Briefed General Saxer/Vice CMDR ASD on business plan.

  • November 1980 - Begin fabrication of first aircraft.

  • November 1980 - First quarterly review held.

  • December 1980 - MOA formally submitted to SPO. Introduced concept of pre-established program return for Northrop risk.

  • December 1980 - -2 configuration and go-ahead approved.

  • January 1981 - Revised program master schedule including -1 and -2 approved.

  • February 1981 - SPO presented MOA to HQ AFSC business strategy panel. Not compatible with Northrop business plan. i.e. SPO recommended milestone billing based on events, no EPA, DD 633 cost visibility on aircraft (optional) and on spares, support equipment, and changes, full audit rights and recognition of cost of capital as part of negotiated profit.

  • February 1981 - Radar RFP released (-2 configuration)

  • March 1981 - Northrop/SPO meting to resolve MOA difficulties

  • March 1981 - Second quarterly review.

  • March 1981 - Improved seat/canopy config changes approved.

  • April 1981 - -1 Air vehicle Preliminary Design Review

  • May 1981 - SPO forwarded updated version of MOA to Northrop. Reflected some progress but not acceptable to Northop

  • June 1981 - Northrop returns MOA unsigned requesting several changes to reflect that Northrop is solely responsible for establishing prices for aircraft, i.e. no cost visibility or audit rights. DD633 cost visibility and audit acceptable for spares, support equipment, and changes, except Northrop reserved right to published spares price catalogue later. Also took exception to DAR CAS requirements and to SPO EPA period and requested expedited initial payment approval.

  • June 1981 - SPO forwarded MOA to HQ USAF

  • June 1981 - PD 81-1 issued to document a freeze of the configuration of the F-5G-1 air vehicle GG 1001.

  • July 1981 - SPO briefed HQ AFSC business strategy panel on latest MOA.

  • July 1981 - T V Jones/Gen. Marsh meeting at HQ AFSC to discuss MOA. Major areas of disagreement apparently resolved. Agreed to Northrop establishing prices and payment terms for all program items including aircraft, spares, support equipment, and changes. HQ AFSC agreed to direct SPO to negotiate new MOA based on meeting results and push for USAF approval of the MOA.

  • July 1981 - PD G81-2 issued on cost avoidance activity to establish budget transfer procedure to support cost avoidance studies for the F-5G program.

  • September 1981 - Revised MOA based on results of above meeting approved by R. Jackson for potential negotiations with SPO. This document never officially submitted to SPO, but formed basis for future discussions with USAF.

  • September 1981 - Briefed Gen. Steer/HQ ASD on revised MOA.

  • September 1981 - Generals Marsh (AFSC), Mullins (AFLC), and Blanton (USAF DCS-PR) meeting at HQ USAF to discuss MOA. No HQ USAF direction to SPO resulted. SPO disagreed with published catalogue price approach for follow-on spares and support equipment orders, insisting on DD 633 cost visibility and full audit rights, i.e. business as usual.

  • December 1981 - PD G81-3 issued to document the freeze of the configuration baseline and establish a critical change order procedure. It extended the incorporation of design changes on GG1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, except as noted and to ensure the most efficient incorporation of changes.

  • December 1981 - PD G81-4 issued to establish liaison engineering - released engineering orders to reduce schedule delays and preclude manufacture of unusable parts.

  • January 1982 - Reagan vetoes Taiwan F-X sale removing F-5G from contention in Taiwan.

  • January 1982 - First F-16 delivered to Egypt.

  • January 1982 - PD 12 issued, "Order written for fabrications of F-5G lot 2 peculiar parts". The objective was to ensure the preparation of all orders for fabrication of peculiar parts. Fabrication had been suspended to avoid unnecessary investment in work-in-process.

  • January 1982 - PD 13 issued, "Planning for manufacture and use of the F-5G-1 flight test aircraft, GG 1004, and its conversion to F-5G-2 flight test aircraft GI-1101. It redirected the GG1004 subprogram and resolved the difficult schedule conditions imposed by the uses planned for the aircraft.

  • January 1982 - PD 14 issued for completion of fabrication of F-5G Lot 2 peculiar structural parts (4 shipsets). Fab had been suspended to ensure minimum investment in work-in-process.

  • February 1982 - PD 15 issued to postpone fab of F-5G parts from F-5E/F lot 3 parts fab (7 shipsets), in keeping with requirement to defer early-production F-5G work.

  • March 1982 - PD 17, program criteria, issued to reprogram the modification and production phases of the F-5G program to reduce the work in-process investment in 1983-84, including ILS activities.

  • March 1982 - Secretary of Defence memo to HQ USAF directed F-X source selection per AFR 70-15. Placed Northrop business plan in jeopardy since source selection RFQ will likely require business as usual approach.

  • March 1982 - Northrop meeting with HQ AFLC headed by Wayne ...te/Deputy COS for contracts and mfg t...s follow-on spares support equipment pricing and AFLC's requirement for cost visibility. Northrop offered alternate approach with DD633 cost visibility and limited audit rights based on certain conditions, i.e. recognition of higher profit and designation of capital, 100% progress payments on price and designation of Northrop as source of supply for life of the program for F-5G peculiar items. AFLC to evaluate and advise Northrop.

  • March 1982 - Gen Allen/USAF Chief of Staff memo to Gen Marsh suggested possible alternate measures for developing cost estimates to assure fair and reasonable price. However, noted that ..... required for F-X source selection could make this a moot point.

  • March 1982 - PD 18, Functional Fixture Requirements for the F-5G-1 and F-5G-2 programs issued. This PD established the requirements for a functional fixture in support of program criteria published in PD 17. Directed that manufacturing material resources by minimized as much as possible while supporting functional fixture requirements.

  • March 1982 - PD 19, F-5G flight test program repair of repairables procedure, issued to establish the procedures for handling/rotating repairables in support of the EAFB activity.

  • April 1982 - Marv Elkin telecon with Gen Weiss/HQ USAF indicated that HQ USAF direction to SPO will put total program pricing, including aircraft, on business as usual basis. Will require cost and pricing data on F-5G program but would recognize cost of capital, R&D; recoupment, and increased profit consideration. Also will require audit rights. SPO to be directed to pursue and MOA with Northrop on this issue.

  • April 1982 - PD 20, F-5G decision point schedule, issued to implement a decision point schedule which provides information necessary to functional planning of management authorization to program established dates by which critical decisions must be made on program activities to control resource allocation.

  • April 1982 - PD 23, F-5F flight test chase aircraft, issued to procure an F-5F aircraft to use as a chase support aircraft in the flight test program through the use of the capital assets funds and configuration definitely test and evaluation engineering.

  • May 1982 - PD 25, planning for manufacture and use of F-5G-1 flight test aircraft, issued to clarify activities scheduled for aircraft GG 1004, which include participation in the 1983 Paris Air Show, spin susceptibility tests, and refurbishment for sale in the F-5G-2 configuration.

  • May 1982 - PD 26, F-5G program redirection. Cut back to a two aircraft program.

  • August 1982 - PD 27, configuration for first flight, issued.

  • August 1982 - Tigershark roll out at Hawthorne.

  • August 1982 - First flight of Tigershark at EAFB, 30 August.

  • October 1982 - PD 28, communication of Tigershark flight test data, issued to establish a regular system of reporting and dissemination of flight test activities.

  • October 1982 - PD 29, flight test program, issued to prepare for customer demonstration flights.

  • November 1982 - Tigershark redesignated the F-20.

  • November 1982 - Bahrain requests Tigershark.

  • November 1982 - PD 30, production restart activities, issued to authorize certain activities which have been deemed necessary to support the restart of production preparations.

  • January 1983 - F-20 completes 100th flight.

  • February 1983 - PD 31, Configuration Baseline Management, issued to clarify their terminology relative to the F-20A "Baseline Configuration" and associated proposal pricing activity.

  • February 1983 - PD 34, F-20A Air Vehicle - baseline definition and identification, issued to provide overall program definition to the development and identification of the baseline aircraft.

  • February 1983 - PD 36, F-20 operations transition from PDO to Central Operations, issued to prove a means of presenting F-20 Program Office concurrence with the transition of major assembly operations from the PDC to the production .... as soon as major sections are...

  • March 1983 - PD 32, Marketing related publications, issued to establish the requirement for Program Office approval of all F-20 marketing related publications intended for use outside of the division.

  • March 1983 - PD 33, GI 1001 manufacture and flight test, issued to establish the major milestone dates associated with manufacture and flight test of the first digital avionics aircraft, GI-1001.

  • March 1983 - PD 35, Paris International Air Show, issued to provide configuration definition of the F-20A operational display at the Paris Air Show of 1983.

  • May 1983 - PD 37, F-20 program planning criteria, issued to set forth the assumptions, conditions, and guidelines for planning the overall F-20 program. This PD was issued many times, issue 13 being published on 2/21/86. This PD was the vehicle for replanning the total effort as program conditions changed.

  • May 1983 - Paris Air Show, through June.

  • June 1983 - PD 38, F-20 work authorization, issued to confirm the funding provisions for F-20 activity.

  • July 1983 - Original target for firs Tigershark delivery.

  • July 1983 - 300th flight GG1001 July 15.

  • July 1983 - GI-1001 rollout July 25.

  • August 1983 - Korea - Request for Information - Development of aerospace industry and initiation of Korean F-X program.

  • August 1983 - First flight of GI 1001.

  • September 1983 - Twelve sorties in one day. Simulated air to air. Sep 10 EAFB.

  • November 1983 - Unsolicited proposal submitted to Saudi Arabia for 150 Tigershark aircraft plus the establishment of an integrated defense industrial center in Saudi Arabia as a part of the program.

  • December 1983 - PD 41, F-20 production preparedness, issued to authorize specific F-20 production preparedness work in addition to the work authorized in PD 27, issue 36, 37, and 39. Limited effectivity to 1983.

  • December 1983 - Coast to coast unrefueled flight. EAFB to Andrews AFB, Washington, DC, 2007 nm.

  • January 1984 - 500 flight milestone reached.

  • May 1984 - GI 1002 first flight. May 12.

  • July 1984 - Original date for first avionics aircraft delivery.

  • September 1984 - Farnborough Air Show. F-20 flying the hit of the show.

  • October 1984 - Korean crash. Darrel Cornell killed October 10.

  • December 1984 - Proposal for USN for F-20A supersonic adversary aircraft submitted in over 35 reports (volumes).

  • January 1985 - USN chooses F-16 aggressor aircraft at a price that was too good to be true.

  • February 1985 - AIM-7F launch from Tigershark kills drone 13 miles away. Feb 27.

  • March 1985 - Korea - Advanced Fighter Aircraft Development program, NB 85-99 briefed.

  • April 1985 - Unsolicited proposal submitted to USAF for 396 air defense aircraft.

  • May 1985 - Goose Bay, Labrador crash. Dave Barnes killed practising for the Pairs Air Show May 14.

  • July 1985 - Dayton Air Show.

  • July 1985 - Official report of Korea crash finding no aircraft malfunction.

  • April 1986 - Korea - P&A; for 120 aircraft.

  • May 1986 - 1500th flight.

  • September 1986 - Korean offset proposal submitted.

  • November 1986 - USAF selects modified F-16A aircraft to perform the air defense role.

  • November 1986 - Development of the F-20 terminated.

  • December 1986 - ....for discussion.,..ed..on of the F-20 a... (Korean proposal?)
Source:
 

aim9xray

ACCESS: Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
572
Reaction score
214
SIERRA HOTEL! Thanks!

I did track this to the Wayback pages, but could not get the site image to open. Guess my search-fu was weak tonight!
 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
Jack Northrop founded what is now the Northrop-Grumman Corporation, after several false starts, in August 1939. Northrop was the preeminent aerodynamicist of his time, and the greatest intuitive aerodynamicist that ever lived. He had designed the wings for such aircraft as the Lockheed Vega and Douglas DC-3. His main intent in starting his own company was to put into production the ultimate, aerodynamically most efficient aircraft of all - the flying wing. This work culminated in the B-35 flying wing of 1945, and its jet-powered conversion, the B-49.
The B-35 was in a competition with the B-36 to provide the Air Force with an intercontinental-range bomber. From a technical point of view, there was no comparison between the two aircraft. The B-35 was three times more aerodynamically efficient. For the same mission (a 10,000 pound atomic bomb to a 10,000 mile range) the B-35 was 2/3 the size. But Northrop was a tiny company, with its only production experience being wartime production of the P-61 Black Widow. This was a night fighter, based on the Lockheed P-38 twin-boom layout, but with Northrop aerodynamics. It was produced in very limited numbers. Stuart Symington, the powerful head of the Senate Armed Services committee, called Northrop into his office. The B-35 would go into production, he said, but only if Northrop would license the design to Consolidated Vultee for production. Convair had a mile-long government-owned plant in Dallas, Texas, that needed to be filled with work now that the war was over and B-24 production terminated.

Northrop said he couldn't do that to his staff. He returned to California, and ordered the B-35 drawings destroyed and tooling spiked. He retired, believing his flyng wing dream to be over, in 1952.

The B-49 proved that the flying wing design could be equipped with jet engines and be even more aerodynamically successful. If the B-35/B-49 had gone ahead, the US government would still be flying them today, and entire generations of B-36, B-47, B-52, and B-1 bomber aircraft would have been unnecessary.

Instead, in 1980, after a forty-year meander, the US government once again returned to the ultimate aircraft. For stealth reasons the design had to be fitted with a jagged trailing edge. But to make sure the point was not lost, Northrop engineers made sure the B-2 had the same wingspan, to the inch, as the B-35. Permission was obtained to show Jack Northrop the then highly secret B-2 just before he died.

Meanwhile, under the direction of an ex-Rand Corporation whiz kid, T V Jones, Northrop carved a modest place for itself in the military aircraft market. It developed the F-5 lightweight fighter for a US Army close air support requirement. The Army's 'Jeep Carrier' concept never went ahead, but the US Air Force bought over a thousand of the T-38 trainer version. Seemingly indestructible, they are expected to continue into service into the mid-21st Century. The F-5A and F-5E fighter versions of the aircraft went into production for the export and military aid market. This kept Northrop afloat in the 1960's and made export fighter aircraft its main business area.

Northrop Corporation again faced off against its nemesis, now part of General Dynamics, in the early 1970's. Northrop had spent years identifying the optimum lightweight export fighter, taking into account the requirements of users in the Benelux countries, Spain, Australia, and Canada. The Northrop P-530 would have two engines, like the F-5A and F-5E, but greater range and weapons capability.

Then the Air Force, smarting from having to fly oversized F-4E fighter bombers against cheap lightweight MiG-21's over Viet Nam, announced a requirement for a lightweight fighter. Northrop modified its P-530 design and was selected, together with General Dynamics, to build a prototype of the design for a fly-off. The Northrop YF-17 was superior to the General Dynamics YF-16 in almost every way, but that same mile-long plant in Dallas needed to be fed. After the B-36, the Texas Congressional delegation had kept the plant filled with a succession of disastrous medium bomber designs - the B-58, then the F-111. After that experience, the Air Force turned to North American for its B-1 bomber. General Dynamics had no experience with combat fighters, having last built delta-winged F-106 interceptors in the 1950's. Nevertheless they won the Lightweight Fighter competition - the deal of the century, it was called - and with it, the NATO orders for the Benelux countries.

As part of the Deal of the Century, General Dynamics was to have received orders for a carrier-launched version of the fighter for the US Navy. But the Navy had other ideas. Instead it ordered the Lightweight Fighter competitors to team with traditional naval fighter vendors and propose navalized versions of the F-16 and F-17. General Dynamics teamed with Texas-based Vought, and Northrop was forced into bed with McDonnell-Douglas (McAir). Northrop management would not make the same mistake that Jack Northrop made, resulting in the B-35 never going into production. They swallowed their pride and let McAir take over lead production and design responsibility for the Northrop design. A fateful agreement was drawn up. If the McAir/Northrop team won the contract, McAir would build 60% of the airframe (by cost) and Northrop 40%. However, for any sales of the 'land based version' of the aircraft, the percentages would be reversed. Northrop would make 60%, and McAir 40%.

In the end, the Texas delegation and Pentagon supporters of commonality could not get the US Navy to accept the F-16 design. The McAir/Northrop design had the dual engines, which the Navy liked for safer overwater operations, and was superior aerodynamically. The F-16, designed for landing on long Air Force concrete runways, could simply not be slowed down enough to meet the Navy's carrier landing speed requirement. The F-17, derived from the Northrop short-field export design, easily met the low landing speed and precise controllability requirements of the Navy. So McAir got the contract, and the F-18 was born.

But problems developed in Northrop's sales for the land-based version. This was actually going to be a substantially different aircraft form the Navy's F-18. It would have a different airframe, lightened by removing the provisions for landing on carriers. The landing gear would be different and lighter for the same reason. A whole different range of avionics, suitable for export, would be fitted. Northrop had a launch customer for the aircraft - the Shah of Iran. He was willing to pay the billion-dollar nonrecurring cost to develop the design. The way would then be clear for sales to Spain, Australia, and Canada. These were the countries for which the P-530 had been designed in the first place, big countries needing a fighter with dual engines and long range.

But the Shah of Iran was overthrown in the 1979, killing off the F-18L's chance of being developed. In the end, the basic Navy F-18 version was sold to the P-530's main target customers - Canada, Spain, and Australia.

But there was still a truly awesome perceived market for a lightweight fighter foreseen at the beginning of the last decade of the cold war. As part of the competitive struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States, and as a necessary prestige object in the new post-colonial developing world, vast numbers of fighter aircraft had been delivered in the 1960's. Furthermore, America learned the same lesson in Vietnam that they had learned in Korea - that their high-tech heavyweight fighters were vulnerable to lower-tech, shorter-range, but higher-performance air defense interceptors built by the Soviet Union. In the post-Korean world this lesson resulted in the F-104 and F-5, which were not taken up by the US Air Force but instead exported in vast numbers to US allies and developing countries on concessionary terms. The equivalent Soviet aircraft was the MiG-21. There were thousands of these in service, and they would need replacing in the last two decades of the twentieth century.
While the P-530/F-17/F-18 family was Northrop's prime candidate for future export business, Northrop had also been looking at improvements to the F-5E fighter. As early as 1975 a single-engined version of the F-5 using the F-18's F404 engine was studied. This could be part of an F404-engined 'high/low' F-18L/F-5X fighter mix similar to the USAF F-15/F-16 mix using the J100 engine. Others within Northrop wanted any improved F-5E to retain the traditional twin-engined layout, using two Garrett business jet engines equipped with an afterburner.

By the late 1970's Taiwan was embroiled in a series of difficult discussions with the United States about its future aircraft requirements. In the past the United States had fully supported Taiwan, but after the reapproachment with China by Nixon subsequent US administrations played a delicate balancing act of supporting Taiwan's defence needs while somehow minimizing offense to China. Taiwan had rejected an Israeli offer of Kfir C-2 aircraft for the Taiwanese fighter requirement, even though the US had given Israel clearance to sell the aircraft with the American General Electric J79 engine. But Taiwan had an absolute need to be able to fire all-weather radar-guided AIM-7 air-to-air missiles. So instead it wanted American F-4 aircraft, or eventually F-16 or F-18L fighters. None of these were acceptable to the US State Department, which saw even an early model F-4 as detrimental to negotiations with the People's Republic of China.

This led the US Department of Defense to ask Northrop to look at adapting the F-5E, already produced under license in Taiwan, to carry the AIM-7. But the basic F-5E equipped with the AIM-7, and with a radar similar to that used on the F-16A, suffered such performance degradation that the Taiwanese were not interested in it. Since Northrop was already looking at different engine combinations for a higher performance F-5X, the Department of Defense asked the company to select an airframe/powerplant combination that could accommodate the Sparrow. The F404 single-engine solution was found to be the most efficient alternative and was selected by Northrop chief designer Welko Gasich in June 1978.

Northrop CEO, T V Jones, had been a wunderkind from Stanford who had extensive contacts with the California elite. Jones lived in Bel Air, with enough acreage to grow grapes (producing one of the world's most exclusive vintages). The corporate headquarters was in one of the towers in Century City, with loft offices, and decked out with enough Islamic and modern art to look like a wing of the LA County Art Museum. Jones had paid his dues to the California Republican Party, taking the fall when it was discovered he had handed over $40,000 cash to Nixon aide Maurice Stans for use as hush money for the Watergate burglars. Jones was somewhat inconvenienced, having to step down a while as CEO, but was back at the helm at the time Carter was in power, busy wheeling and dealing again.
The Carter administration was desperate to build public support for its SALT-II strategic weapons treaty, which was in serious trouble with Senate Republicans. They solicited support from the aerospace industry, and Jones dutifully provided it., even though it meant getting into bed with Alan Cranston, liberal California Senator and long-time bane of the aerospace industry. Evidently in exchange, Carter pronounced an export fighter policy that curtailed the export potential of the F-16, and favored the F-5G.

The Carter administration ruled that, outside of NATO, Japan, and Australia, the United States would only export aircraft that were 'modifications of an existing aircraft' and 'not as good as US front-line aircraft'. This ruled out export of the new General Dynamics F-16 lightweight fighter to what was its planned main market. Furthermore, any such export aircraft had to be developed with the company's own money, not taxpayer funds. Under the Carter administration, the F-20 (then called the F-5G - a 'modification' of the existing F-5E) fell into this category because it was better than an F-5E (not a US front-line fighter) and was therefore presumed not to be as good as the F-16. Carter had cleared sale of the F-5G to Taiwan in principle, and Northrop began development using its own funds on that basis.

In response to Carter's directive General Dynamics produced a crippled version of the F-16, the F-16/79, for export outside NATO. This was the basic F-16, but equipped with a J79 turbojet rather than the more modern F100 turbofan of the basic F-16. This reduced the aircraft's climb, turning performance, and range. But the F-16/79 retained most of the F-16's avionics suite, which was after all what made the aircraft most potent. It really shows the lack of understanding within the Carter administration of modern technology that an aircraft with a moderately inferior acceleration, but the same avionics, would be considered 'crippled'. And of course General Dynamics made sure that the F-16/79 could be quickly converted to use the F100 'at a future date' (wink-wink - e.g. as soon as this silly Carter administration was out of office). But still, a fighter equipped with a single engine of the same type that earned the F-104G the name 'Widow Maker' found little interest among the air forces of the world.

When Reagan entered office, it would seem that the glory days had come for Northrop. Holmes Tuttle and the rest of Reagan's southern California kitchen cabinet from his Sacramento governor days held major influence in the new administration. The promise seemed fulfilled when Northrop landed the immense but deep-black contract for the B-2 stealth bomber. To be developed in complete secrecy, 100 of these bombers, invisible to radar, were to be built. They would bring the Soviet defense establishment to its knees by making its entire air defense system - the expensive crown jewel of the Soviet defense forces - totally obsolete.
Soviet air defense was based on an enormous web of radars, which led Soviet interceptors and surface-to-air missiles to intercepts with incoming American bombers. The B-2 was not invisible, but its radar signature was so small that it had to be within a few miles of a Soviet radar station to be detected. It could avoid known stations. Using radar detectors which could determine the direction of Soviet radars long before they could see the aircraft, it could also avoid mobile or unmapped stations. The B-2 was the cornerstone in Reagan's strategy to destroy the Soviet Union by making its offensive and defensive forces obsolete.

The B-2 was also important to Norcrafters because it was to mark the final triumph of John Northrop, the company's founder. Northrop's B-35 flying wing would finally go into production, thirty years later, in the guise of the B-2. It was not coincidence that the wingspan of the two aircraft was identical.

So it would seem that Northrop's golden days lay ahead. But Washington is not run by dictators. Other political forces were pulling in other directions. In January 1982, under pressure from China, Reagan personally vetoed the Taiwan deal for the F-5G. The aircraft had lost its launch customer. But the administration still backed Carter's export policy half-heartedly at first. The F-20 was proposed as more 'appropriate' and 'cost effective' for countries like Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey.

But General Dynamics saw the opportunity to finally be clear of Carter's goody-two-shoes edict restricting export of the F-16 to developing countries. The US Air Force began actively undermining the marketing of the F-20 through the back door. The Air Force had a vested interest in getting the F-16 widely exported and sold in massive numbers. More foreign customers for the F-16 would increase the production rate, take the aircraft down the learning curve, and make the aircraft much cheaper for the US Air Force to purchase for its own needs. Furthermore, widespread use of the aircraft by nominal allies around the world gave the Air Force a kind of reserve worldwide F-16 logistics network. Allies' ground equipment and handling facilities could be used for supporting quickly-deployed American aircraft in an emergency.

The Air Force exploited its position as a government entity to easily market the F-16. Under arcane American weapons export laws, Northrop had to submit every scrap of marketing literature, even glossy brochures that only contained information that had already been published worldwide in Aviation Week, Flight International, or Jane's, to a lengthy US government review. It could take months before approval was granted, on a case-by-case basis, to provide technical information on the F-20 to prospective customers. Air Force officers, on the other hand, could and did just hand over requested F-16 technical information to interested countries immediately, without any government approvals.

It also seemed to these countries, regardless of the technical and logistics merits of the two aircraft, that those being offered the F-20 were being told they were second-class allies, not deserving to fly the fighter that was the choice of the US Air Force. When the Reagan administration agreed to supply the Air Force version of the F-16 to Venezuela for delivery in 1983, it was the death knell for the F-20.

Reagan had also boosted F-16 production to astronomic levels as part of his defense buildup. This drove the aircraft down the learning curve and brought the price down to $ 8 million per aircraft, the same as the F-20. The F-20 now only had an advantage in technical excellence, and a logistics and fuel cost 1/3 less than the F-16. But the same gush of funds was allowing the Air Force to begin development of the F-16C. This version would be fitted out with all-digital avionics (although not a laser INS at first). It would be available by the late 1980's, and have the full backing of the US Air Force. So that would remove the technical lead of the F-20. All that was left was the logistics cost argument. Northrop attempted to address this by guaranteeing the price per flight hour to prospective customers - for twenty years (this drama is detailed below).
Another stab in the back was the decision to let Israel use foreign aid funds from the Camp David agreement to pay for development of the Lavi, a lightweight fighter that was a direct competitor to the F-20. Northrop already saw Israel's hand behind the effort to stop the sale to Taiwan and have the Taiwanese buy Israeli Kfir fighters instead. It was illogical and galling that Northrop, an American company, would be told it had to invest its own funds in development of a fighter export aircraft, while at the same time Israel would be given US taxpayer funds to develop a competitor. The logic eventually was apparent even to the US Congress, and in the end, after the F-20 was dead, the Lavi was canceled as well.
But the morass of Chinese politics led to another contradiction. Northrop began receiving calls from its contractors in 1982 that the US government had secretly contracted with General Dynamics to develop a fighter for Taiwan in replacement for the prohibited Northrop F-20! And they were going to use the avionics developed for the F-20 by Northrop and it subcontractors in the new aircraft. Imagining Northrop's vast clout in Washington, they demanded that something be done. The sense of utter betrayal ran deep through the F-20 project staff and vendor community.

The Reagan administration had publicly prohibited Northrop from selling a fighter developed with its own funds to Taiwan, then secretly arranged for Northrop's competitor to develop a replacement. The fighter being developed by General Dynamics for the Taiwanese used F-16 aerodynamics (a belly inlet), but instead of a single F404, the twin Garrett turbofans-with-afterburner engine layout that many within Northrop had originally favored for the F-20. General Dynamics had selected the F-20's General Electric radar, Honeywell laser inertial gyro system, the Bendix displays for the Taiwanese fighter.

The triptych was perfect when, in the 1990's, the US government secretly allowed mainland China to develop Israel's Lavi design as the F-10. Perhaps there was a secret agreement all along to let each side - China and Taiwan - secretly develop a fighter based on Western technology?

Northrop doggedly continued in its attempts to sell the fighter despite these mutliple setbacks. GG1001, the first 'engine change only' F-5G aircraft, began flight test in August 1982. In November 1982, with Carter's 'modification of an existing aircraft' fiction no longer required, the USAF agreed to redesignate the aircraft the F-20. Bahrain signed on as the first customer the same month. GG1001 demonstrated outstanding reliability. By the end of April 1983 it had logged 240 flights, including evaluation flights by 15 pilots from 10 potential customer nations. In August 1983 GI1001, the second F-20 and the first with the new digital avionics, joined GG1001 in flight test. It proved equally stable and reliable. Only a month later it flew twelve simulated air-to-air sorties in one day at Edwards Air Force Base, demonstrating both reliability and surge capability.
Through 1983 and 1984, with the aircraft flying and proving itself, sales prospects looked up. South Korea was exploring production in Korea of the F-20 as part of comprehensive development of its aerospace industry under its F-X program. Northrop made an unsolicited proposal to Saudi Arabia for 150 aircraft. The US Navy was looking for a new agressor aircraft to simulate Soviet MiG-29's. GI1001 made a 2308 mile unrefuelled transcontinental flight in December 1983 in a demonstration of its range capability. A month later GG1001 and GI1001 had completed 500 test flights, and they were joined in May 1984 by GI1002, a second all-up avionics aircraft. The high point came at the Farnborough Air Show in September 1984, when the amazing maneuverability demonstrated by the F-20 in its flying display made it the hit of the show. GG1001 and GI1001 flew on from Britain on a round-the-world tour of prospective customers.

Then the tide turned against the aircraft. GG1001 crashed in South Korea on October 10, killing Northrop pilot Darrell Cornell. In January 1985 the Navy picked the F-16 rather than the F-20 for the aggressor role. General Dynamics had been able to make a price offer far below Northrop by having the Navy's F-16's engines and avionics supplied from existing government inventory, so the Navy only had to buy the airframes.

An investigation of the Korean crash cleared the F-20 of any mechanical or design fault. It was found that Cornell had blacked out due to excessive G's pulled in the acrobatic demonstration routine. During 1985 talks with Korea intensified and proposals became more detailed. By this time the production version of the F-20 being offered had many upgrades to the original configurations flying - improved radar, increased fuel, more powerful engine, new mission computer, electromechanical flaps, jet fuel starter, on-board oxygen generation - the list went on and on. The changes were made to ensure that the F-20 could now beat the F-16C in each and every performance category, while still being cheaper to buy and own.

But these changes all required an indefinite extension of the Northrop-funded aircraft development and test program. It was clear it would be some time before Seoul would be ready to sign a deal. T V Jones attempted to force the issue politically by making an unsolicited proposal in April 1985 to equip the Air Force with 396 F-20's at a guaranteed acquisition and maintenance cost well below the F-16.

After various political permuations, this was transormed into a competition between the F-16 and the F-20 for what the Air Force dubbed its 'Air Defence Fighter' requirement. This was to be versions of the aircraft equipped with AIM-7 and AMRAAM radar-guided missiles that would have to intercept and shoot down Soviet bombers in case of an attack on the United States. The F-20 had already demonstrated a successful shoot-down of a drone using an AIM-7 in February 1985 - a capability the F-16 did not possess.

Meanwhile GI1001 crashed in May 1985 at Goose Bay, Labrador, killing Northrop test pilot Dave Barnes. Barnes had been practicing his acrobatic routine at a stop on the way to the Paris Air Show. The cause was again eventually found to be pilot black-out due to the intense maneuvers, but the accident cast a pall on the struggling program. The remaining GI1002 aircraft made an appearance at the Dayton Air Show in July, and by May 1986 completed the 1500th flight of an F-20 aircraft. Northrop selected systems subcontractors and began construction of GI1003, which would be the first aircraft to include all of the new features promised to the Air Force and South Korea. A cost proposal for 120 aircraft was made to South Korea in April 1986 and the Air Defence Proposal was made to the Air Force for 180 aircraft.

On 31 October 1986, Halloween, the Air Force informed Northrop that the F-16C was selected for the Air Defence Requirement. But on the same day Northop was informed that it had been selected to design and build a prototype of the F-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter (Lockheed was selected to build a prototype of their competing F-22 design). The next day Northrop announced it was halting active development of the F-20, although it would continue to market the aircraft.

Did Northrop's highest management secretly agree to sacrifice the F-20 as part of a deal to get the B-2, the Have Blue, the TR-2, Tacit Rainbow, and a welter of other high-tech stealth programs in the 1980's? Was it sacrificed in order to get the F-23 development? The reality of any such deals are lost to history now.

After the decision was made to terminate development of the F-20, measures were taken to ensure the program could be resurrected. There was still hope of selling the entire drawing package and tooling to a foreign country, which could then complete development of the aircraft with Northrop assistance. In the months after the termination, all the paperwork associated with the F-20 was carefully stored, and the administrators and engineers documented where they had left off so the work could be resumed. The unfinished GI1003 aircraft, the flightworthy GI1002, the numerous fabricated and purchased components and systems of other aircraft, the tooling and test equipment, were all put in air conditioned storage.
The head of F-20 avionics subcontracts and a cost accountant toured the country for six months, negotiating termination settlements with Northrop's vendors and co-developers. As part of these settlements, Northrop would receive royalties on future sales of that portion of the vendor's equipment it had developed at its own expense.

The first and most likely launch customer was still South Korea. "This deal has been cleared all the way through the Blue House", the Korean equivalent of the White House, assured a new set of Northrop marketeers. Indeed, it developed later that Northrop had paid millions of dollars in bribes to South Korean officials to ensure the F-20 would be resurrected in Korea. But the deal never developed. The officials were removed from power, and the bribes were uncovered. Northrop not only did not sell the aircraft but ended up paying substantial fines and being publicly disgraced.

Another potential customer was India. India had always been held at arm's length by the US government, but the F-20 was a good alternative to India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft development. It had been proposed to India as early as 1984. In late 1991, after rejecting an offer from the Americans to transfer F-5E tooling and production to India, the F-20 was considered again. Northrop offered to transfer GI1002, GI1003, the tooling, drawings, and know-how to India. But the talks got nowhere, and were finally abandoned (details). Last ditch talks with Pakistan and other countries also led nowhere. Northrop shortly thereafter gave up marketing the aircraft. The tooling and work in progress were destroyed, GI1002 was handed over to the California Museum of Science and Technology for display, where it remains to this day.

By then the Berlin wall had come down and the Cold War ended. The international advanced weapons market that it had fueled collapsed utterly. Used F-16's and MiG-29's became available for very little money . Export of fighter aircraft stalled completely. Old fighter aircraft were replaced at a ratio of only one new aircraft for every three older ones. The number of active combat aircraft in the world declined from 37,600 in 1990 to under 27,400 by 2005. The number of fighter aircraft declined from 23,400 to 17,200. In the face of the availability of inexpensive, modern fighter aircraft surplus to the Cold War powers, the demand for new aircraft virtually evaporated. So perhaps it was actually a stroke of luck for Northrop that the F-20 did not go through after all.

Northrop itself, in the defense consolidation of the 1990's, positioned itself as a high-tech weapons integrator and abandoned the aircraft design and export market. It acquired Grumman, and paradoxically some of its 'enemy' subcontractors on the F-20, such as Westinghouse. By 2005 it was the third largest defense contractor, having survived with its own name at the top of the masthead while its larger competitors had passed into history. Arch-rivals General Dynamics, McDonnell-Douglas, Grumman, Vought, Fairchild, Martin, and North American Rockwell - all were absorbed into the big three of Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop. If the F-20 was a stalking horse to divert the competition while Northrop secretly, stealthily obtained dominance in the new technology market, then the plan worked.

But Northrop remained the company that survived but somehow never built anything. It still lost every design competition (its F-23 advanced tactical fighter design lost to Lockheed's F-22, even though everyone agreed yet again the F-23 was aerodynamically superior; B-2 production was terminated after only twelve aircraft had been built, at enormous expense). But the modern Pentagon has perfected the art of spending billions in designated congressional districts without ever actually delivering anything or getting anything into production.

The F-5S, an early version of the F-20 with a large wing for better short-field performance, was proposed as an alternative to the Saab Gripen to Sweden. The Gripen went into production, but only 153 were built for the Swedish Air Force in the period 1993 to 2005, compared to the 225 (plus 178 export orders) originally expected to be delivered in 1991 to 2001. Export sales were possibly representative of what the F-20 could have expected, and these developed poorly indeed. By 2006 only a handful were sold to South Africa, and possibly a few others leased to Hungary, in the face of fierce competition from the F-16C, MiG-29, Rafale, and Typhoon.
The Indian LCA turned into one of the most drawn-out development programs in history. Originally 150 were to be delivered in 1994 to 2001. India briefly considered purchasing the F-20 design and tooling in 1991, but reaffirmed its originally decision to proceed with a completely indigenous airframe and engine. So the first prototype did not fly until 1997. By 2005 only three prototypes were flying and production was years away.

The Lavi was resurrected in China as the F-10, which first flew in 1996. Development proceeded slowly, but by 2005 there were a handful flying and the way seemed clear for large-scale production to begin. As the Chinese aerospace industry developed further in the 21st Century, the Lavi might have been the seed that would destroy the aircraft industries of the West.

The Taiwanese ACF went into production in 1994 as the Ching Kuo, a flying counterpart of the twin-engined F-5X version of the F-20 favored by some traditionalists within Northrop. The program remained fairly secretive, but it seems the aircraft could not be considered very successful. By 2005 Taiwan had completed production after delivering only 130 aircraft. It was still seeking to purchase Typhoons, Rafales, or F-16s to match mainland China's license-built Su-27 and F-10/Lavi fighter aircraft types. The situation of thirty years earlier had not changed.

South Korea did not purchase the F-20 after the Blue House scandal, but instead bought more F-16s. However under the F-16 sales agreement they also developed a light 'trainer' aircraft powered by a single F404 engine dubbed the T-50. Production began in 2006 and the T-50 seemed a good contender to replace the T-38 in world trainer inventories.

The F-16 fulfilled its promise as the Fighter Deal of the 20th Century. By 2005 over 4,000 had been built (as against an original projected market of 3,000), and production continued into the indefinite future. The aircraft was no longer lightweight, having been loaded down in each successive version with more avionics and equipment, requiring more fuel, in turn requiring more powerful engines, which in turn required even more fuel. The mold line was interrupted by the lumps and bumps of conformal fuel tanks. A welter of avionics versions were operated by each customer. The price had bottomed out at $ 8 million at the high production rates of the F-16A/B version. This was the price the F-20 was competing against. But that price skyrocketed again to $ 23.3 million an aircraft as soon as the F-20 was canceled and the F-16C version introduced.

Even in the early 1980's the word was out that the F-16A was plagued with premature maneuvering flap cracking and wing fatigue problems. The F-16 had been designed to the maneuver life G-profile of the F-4E, the Air Force's air combat fighter at the time the F-16 was designed. But the fly-by-wire system of the F-16 allowed the pilots to pull incredibly high-G maneuvers with massive rates of onset. The pilot needed only to pull the joystick full back, and the unstable aircraft was commanded immediately into an 8 G turn, snapping the unwary pilots head back in the reclining seat (resulting in injury in many cases). The wing just wasn't designed for such repetitive maneuvers, and by the late-1980's it was apparent that all F-16A/B aircraft would require expensive wing replacements or retirement.

Once the F-20 was out of the way, the problem became public. Instead of paying to upgrade the aircraft to the design 8,000-hour airframe life, the Air Force scrapped virtually all of the 792 F-16A's and B's it had bought in the 1980's after just a decade of service. In the post-Cold War rundown, and the acquisition of over 1400 F-16C/D's, no one noticed. The aircraft retired included the low-ball F-16N Navy agressor and all but 24 of the F-16 ADF versions that had beaten out the F-20.

Just at the end of the F-20's brief saga the NATO states began development of fighters designed to match or exceed expected Soviet next-generation fighters. The French began development of the Rafale. The other major europeans states began development of the Euofighter Typhoon. With the competitive pressure of the Cold War removed, development was agonizingly slow. Test structural articles for the Eurofighter could be seen at European factories in 1988, but the first aircraft didn't fly until 1994, and production deliveries of limited versions of the aircraft would not begin until 2006. Compare this 20-year development cycle with the 20-month cycle of the F-20A.

The US Air Force next-generation-fighter was the stealthy Advanced Tactical Fighter. On the same Halloween night the F-20 was canceled, Northrop won a contract to build its F-23 prototype of the ATF. General Dynamics built its F-22 in competition. History tiresomely repeated itself. General Dynamics won the competition, with a design clearly inferior in every respect. There were stories that a bomber or reconnaissance version of the F-23 had secretly gone into limited production, but as of 2005 no such program had been publicly revealed.

The development of the F-22 was also incredibly protracted in the absence of cold war competitive pressure. It took 10 years from go-ahead decision to first flight of a production-representative aircraft, compared to 18 months for the F-20. It was another 10 years to first production delivery. By then the aircraft cost so much that the original planned delivery of 648 aircraft in the 1992 to 1998 period had shrunk to 120 in the 2007 to 2012 period, after which production would cease.

Historically each twin-engine fighter engendered a lightweight fighter using one of the same engine. This never happened according to plan, although it might as well have (F-4/F-104; F-15/F-16; F-18/F-20). Similarly the F-22's engine was used in a single-engine, not-quite-as-stealthy, hopefully-less-expensive fighter, the F-35 Joint Strike fighter. This was to be a return to the abominable F-111 concept - a single aircraft that was supposed to serve as an interceptor, fighter, bomber; in vertical-takeoff, conventional takeoff, and carrier-launch versions; built for the Navy, USAF, and Marines, with supposed vast export potential. The same countries that had been export launch customers for the F-16 bought into the F-35 as a next-generation replacement (in preference to the Eurofighter, which had no particular stealth credentials and represented no significant improvement over the F-16C).

But the United States had continued to fund weapons system development at cold-war levels through the 1990's while the rest of the world had not. That meant that the United States weapons technology had become costly but vastly in advance of that of other nations. The Americans jealously tried to protect this lead by refusing export of key technologies. By 2005 the F-35 was inevitably behind schedule, over budget, and its export potential in crisis. The main thing saving it was the incredible expense of the F-22, making the F-35 looking like a cheaper alternative. The cost and delays of the American 'next-generation' aircraft meant the F-15, F-16, and F-18 would remain into production well into the 21st Century, probably as much as 50 years after development had begun.

The T-38, F-5A and F-5E aircraft built by Northrop proved so durable and reliable that they needed no replacement. A variety of countries offered avionics upgrades and would inexpensively zero-time the airframes. Of the original US Air Force buy of 1189 T-38's, over 670 were still flying in 2005. Upgraded with modern avionics, they were expected to continue to meet USAF training needs until 2050 - by which time the airframes would be approaching 100 years old. Of 1199 F-5A/B aircraft delivered in the 1960's, 280 were still flying. Of 1350 F-5E aircraft, 530 were still flying. Avionics upgrades were available from Canada, Israel, the United States, Germany, Singapore, and Korea. Airframe updates could be conducted in Canada, Spain, Israel, Singapore, Korea, or Taiwan. No other fighter or trainer aircraft designed in the 1950's continued in service in such numbers, with the exception of the Russian MiG-21. Northrop had put itself out of the fighter business by building a design so classic, so durable, so correct, that it could not be replaced.

 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
Quick Summary
Major F-20 versions and their designations:

  • Engine change only (ECO): F404 engine replacing two J85 engines of the F-5E. Avionics, wings and nose identical with the F-5E CPO6000 configuration. Modifications were required to the F-5E fuselage aft of the cockpit to accommodate the F404. The depth of the center and aft fuselage sections was increased. The aft fuel cell was modified to accommodate the larger engine and expanded inlet ducts, but the F-5G had the same total fuel volume the F-5E. The F-5E inlet design could accommodate the F404 engine by being stretched vertically but keeping the same horizontal profile, meaning no changes to the wing/fuselage junction were needed. Therefore the F-5G also retained the F-5E wing. However the attachment structure of the vertical stabilizer had to be changed due to the aft fuselage recontouring. Designations:
    • Northrop in-house: F-5/404 (May 1975-June 1978); F-5G (June 1978 to August 1980); F-5G-1 (August 1980 to May 1982); Tigershark (no F- number; May 1982 to November 1982). Aircraft flown as F-20 GG1001 thereafter (decision taken not to market this model after Taiwan program cancelled by Reagan administration in January 1982).
    • Northrop project office PROCAT: GG (August 1980-on. Individual airframes would receive the designations GG1001, GG1002, GG1003, etc).
    • Northrop Engineering Release: 40- (April 1980 on; engineering drawings and specifications for F-5G specific parts received number 40-13905-1, 40-55904-1, etc)
    • Air Force official: None. Although referred to in correspondence with the Air Force as the F-5G from 1978 to 1982, such a designation was ever officially promulgated by the USAF.
  • Integrated digital avionics configuration. The new avionics would allow Northrop to market an aircraft that in fact was better than the F-16A in many ways. Airframe as ECO configuration, except to accommodate the avionics a new fuselage forward of frame 138 was required. This allowed the avionics bays to be rearranged, and provided a more bulbuos nose with a much larger radome for the new radar. The opportunity was taken to provide the Tigershark with a new 'panoramic canopy' providing better all-around visibility than the F-5E.
    • Northrop in-house: F-5G-2 (August 1980 to May 1982); Tigershark (no F- number; May 1982 to November 1982); F-20A Tigershark (November 1982 on).
    • Northrop project office PROCAT: GI (August 1980-on. Individual airframes would receive the designations GI1001, GI1002, GI1003, etc).
    • Northrop Engineering Release: 50- (August 1980 on; engineering drawings and specifications for F-5G-2 specific parts received number 50-64920-1, 50-62914-1, etc)
    • Air Force official: F-20A (17 November 1982 on); F-20A Tigershark (30 March 1983 on).
As a result of development and marketing the F-20A configuration evolved (Extended Range Radar, Maneuvering Flaps, etc) but the designations remained the same (e.g. F-20A Tigershark, GI1003, 50-74900-1, etc etc)
Configurations and Designations over Time

The F-5 series of aircraft had their origin in 1953 with a design called by Northrop the N-102 Fang. By 1957 this had evolved into the N-156. The N-156 became the T-38 in a trainer version, and the F-5A in a fighter version. The F-5E was an improved version of the F-5A with an Emerson Electric fire-control radar and uprated engines. Further improvements were made to the F-5E models built for Saudi Arabia and Switzerland in the mid-1970's, including a Litton inertial navigation system and other avionics that allowed the fighter to carry Maverick and other advanced weapons. This configuration was the baseline for any further improvements on the F-5.

Northrop had an Advanced Design Group, which, like all such groups, spent its time not only imagining new aircraft, but dreaming up and evaluating all possible modifications of existing designs.

Early work on major improvements to the F-5E were referred to within the company as F-5X (such designations were unofficial and not allocated by the US government). This included an F-5E equipped with AIM-7 Sparrow capability, as desired by Taiwan. This would require a new radar, and deletion of one M39 gun to make room for the extra radar avionics. But carriage of the big Sparrow missiles so degraded the performance of the basic F-5E that it was clear a new-technology engine would be required.

Advanced design had already looked at such possibilities over the years. One possibility was replacing the two J85 engines of the F-5E with a single F404 engine from the F-18 (the F-5/404 concept of May 1975). This had been studied as soon as the F-18 contract had been awarded. It certainly provided the needed performance improvement, and engine reliability had improved so much between the 1950's and 1970's that a fighter with a single F404 would (theoretically) have the same safety as a twin-engine aircraft with J85's. Preliminary aerodynamic studies showed the F-5E wings and forward fuselage could be kept unchanged. The aft fuselage would turn from the flat lifting body of the F-5E to a cylindrical barrel section to accommodate the F404 and its intakes, but the aerodynamic characteristics would be maintained by building a kind of shelf between the barrel fuselage and the F-5E wings.

But Northrop had for years advocated the safety features of two engines. A twin engine aircraft was not just safer in flight operations, but also in sustaining battle damage in combat and being able to return to base. So a faction within Advanced Design looked at re-engining the F-5E with two improved engines. Garret built a modern turbofan engine for business jets in the correct thrust class, the TFE-731. For a fighter a version of this engine with afterburners would have to be developed, but this was not seen as a major risk area.

A sharp debate within Northrop developed. Northrop had a traditional relationship with engine manufacturer General Electric, going back to the development of the radical Turbodyne engines for the B-49 flying wing in the 1940's. Northrop sincerely believed that GE engines were better engineered, more reliable, and had lower life-cycle costs than the equivalent engines from Pratt and Whitney. Garrett had no experience in building engines for high-performance fighter aircraft, which were abused like no other engines in the air.

Furthermore, Northrop was expecting big sales of the F-18L land-based version of the Navy F/A-18. This was nearly an entirely different aircraft, with Northrop having the lead design responsibility, and was more akin to the F-17 that was rejected by the USAF than the Navy F-18. The F-18L would be powered by two F404's. This meant that Northrop engineering, logistics, and contracting would already have developed intimate relationships and understandings with General Electric concerning the F404. Furthermore, an F404-powered version of the F-5E would allow Northrop to market a high/low F-18L/F-5X fighter mix using a common engine. This would mirror the F-15/F-16 high/low fighter mix using the Pratt and Whitney F100 engine.

All of these arguments, but in particular the 'special relationship' between Northrop and General Electric at the highest corporate levels, led to the decision in June 1978 to use the F404 engine in the Taiwan aircraft and other future F-5 developments.

At this time the Carter administration had promulgated a fighter export policy that sought to reduce military spending by developing countries and dictatorships. This policy prohibited American companies from marketing or selling front-line American fighters to foreign countries. In particular the F-14, F-15, F-16, and F-18 were not to be marketed or sold to countries outside American's primary allies (NATO, Australia, New Zealand, Japan; and after the Camp David accords, Egypt and Israel). Any fighters exported could only be modifications of existing fighters and 'not as good as' American front-line fighters.

In order to make clear that the F-5/F404 was merely a 'modification' of the F-5E Tiger II, it was given the official F-5G designation by the US government. Northrop had developed a radome for the F-5E that improved the aerodynamics compared to the F-5G, and this had the same shape as a shark's head. So the appearance combined with the name of the F-5E suggested the name Tigershark for the aircraft.

Carter's strict export policy would seemingly prohibit Northrop from marketing radically-improved avionics. So Northrop conceived a two-phase program, whereby Taiwan and other customers would first build 'Engine Change Only' (ECO) aircraft. These would use the F404 engine but still be equipped with F-5E avionics. However under an 'F-5G Phased Improvement Program' improved avionics would be developed and phased in later when the policy (or administration) changed.

By the time the first contracts were let for the new avionics systems, the Carter administration was indeed out of office and the Tigershark was now in direct competition with the F-16A front-line fighter. So the avionics version of the aircraft was already superior in most ways to the F-16A when it started development.

The F-5G-1 was the designation given for the 'Engine Change Only' version of the aircraft. This would be the first put into production, and would retain the entire old F-5E fuselage and avionics.

The F-5G-2 was the designation given for the version with the engine change and completely new digital avionics. To accommodate these avionics a new fuselage forward of frame 138 was required. This allowed the avionics bays to be rearranged, and provide a more bulbous nose with a much larger radome for the new radar. The opportunity was given to provide the F-5E with a new 'panoramic canopy' and a modern zero-zero ejection seat.

Engineering designations given to Northrop aircraft had begun anew with the N-156F series in 1957. The numbers applied to all internal engineering drawings consisted of a first number indicating the aircraft model on which the part had first appeared. The second five-digit sequence indicated the type and location of the part within the airframe. A final one to three digit dash number indicated versions of the same basic part. Under this scheme, 2-13002-1 was the T-38 canopy. The same canopy was used on the F-5B and F-5F two-place aircraft, so that part was used on those aircraft with the same designation. Parts new for the F-5E received 14- designations, such as 14-13002-1 for the F-5E canopy. F-5F parts received 18- designations. F-5G-1 parts had 40- designations, and F-5G-2 50- designations.

Once the F-5G was in direct competition with the F-16A, the F-5G designation became a hindrance to marketing efforts. The F-5G-1 version had been dropped, and Northrop concentrated on marketing the better-than-an-F-16A F-5G-2 version. But the F-5G designation, used to imply to the Carter administration that this was just a modification of an existing aircraft, provided the same connotation to potential customers. Northrop needed a new fighter designation to ensure customers that the aircraft was all-new. Furthermore any number assigned would be 'higher' than F-16, also providing the connotation that the aircraft was newer and more advanced than the competition. So Northrop requested, and obtained, the official designation of F-20 for the aircraft.

This resulted in a lot of speculation over the years as to what happened to the F-19 designation. At the time speculation about development of the still-secret stealth fighter was rife, and it was assumed that the F-19 designation had been given to this aircraft. Articles in reference books authoritatively used the designation, and model kits of the 'F-19 Stealth Fighter' were released. Andreas Parsch , using the Freedom of Information Act, finally uncovered the real story:

The F-19 designation was never assigned. The official explanation by DOD was "to avoid confusion with MiG-19", which was generally regarded as very implausible (because so far no numbers had been skipped to avoid clashes with foreign designators). Therefore, it was much speculated whether F-19 was really skipped, and if so, for what real reason. One viable theory was that F-19 was originally allocated to (or at least reserved for) the F-117A Nighthawk, but eventually not used… The other main line of reasoning was that Northrop specifically requested the F-20 designator for its then new Tigershark (originally designated F-5G) to make it look as "the first of a new fighter generation" (i.e., the "20" series).
The truth is in fact a combination of the second idea and the official line. The designation "F-19A" was indeed officially skipped at Northrop's request. They wanted to redesignate the F-5G as F-20A, because they preferred an even number. The Soviet competitors in the export fighter market of the early 1980s all used odd numbers, and Northrop wanted to stand out from these. So the official "confusion with MiG-19"-story is in fact more or less close to the truth, although the phrase is a bit misleading. Nobody would "confuse" an "F-19A" with a MiG-19, especially because the latter was obsolete anyway at that time. To say it again, Northrop didn't want to avoid "confusion" with MiG-19 in particular, but to use an even number to stand out from all the Soviet odd ones. The F-20A designator was approved despite official recommendation by the USAF Standards Branch (at that time responsible for nomenclature assignments) to follow the regulations and use "F-19A".
The facts are documented by several letters exchanged between various USAF/DOD offices during the process of requesting and assigning the F-20A designator to Northrop. On 28 October 1982, HQ Aeronautical Systems Divison, USAF (apparently handling the F-5G program for the Air Force) wrote a letter to the USAF Standards Branch to request a new model number for the F-5G on behalf of Northrop Corporation. To quote the relevant part (remarks in [brackets] are by me):
1. In mid 1981, Northrop Corporation's Intermediate Export Fighter candidate was designated the F-5G. Since that time, the F-5G has incorporated substantial changes in structure, engine and aircraft systems. Northrop Corporation believes these changes would be best reflected by a model designation change from F-5G to F-20A, "Tigershark". Northrop's reason for specifically requesting the model 20 designation is that being an even number series [sic], it would be unique in the foreign market which typically sees odd numbered threat designators (MIG 19; MIG 21; MIG 23).
On 1 November 1982, this request was in turn forwarded by the Standards Branch to USAF HQ in the Pentagon for approval. However, it was clearly stated that the designation should be "F-19A" instead, to follow existing regulations:
1. The attached request [see quote above] is forwarded for your consideration and approval of a new Mission-Design-Series (MDS) designator.
2. MDS designator F-5G was approved for Northrop's Intermediate Export Fighter candidate in May 1981. Based on the information contained in the subject letter, the aircraft has been changed sufficiently from the original F-5G configuration to warrant assignment of a new MDS as requested.
3. Our records indicate that -19 is the next number available for assignment in the "F" series and to comply with AFR 82-1 paragraph 3f we feel that F-19A should be assigned to this aircraft.
4. The popular name "Tigershark" has not been approved at this time and should not be listed in DODL 4120.15 [DOD's official listing of approved aerospace vehicle designations] until an MDS has been assigned to this aircraft. We will take action to obtain approval of the popular name when an MDS has been established.
5. Our recommendations for entry into DODL 4120.15 are as follows:
a. [MDS] F-19A
b. [Manufacturer] Northrop
c. [Popular Name] unassigned
[...]
(The copy of the letter has a hand-written note at the bottom, saying "Dissapproved [sic] See F-20A folder".)
On 17 November 1982, HQ USAF approved the F-20A designation (but not yet the Tigershark name), apparently ignoring the Standards Branch's advice, and introduced the misleading "confusion with MiG-19" phrase:
1. Redesignation of the Northrop Corporation's intermediate export fighter from F-5G to F-20A is approved. Substantial changes in design and capability warrant a different basic design number. Northrop's concern for potential confusion with the MIG-19 in their foreign markets is a sound basis for bypassing that number.
2. The assignment of the popular name "Tigershark" is being worked through public affairs channels. [...]
3. Please advise ASD and Northrop of the F-20A designation and the status of the popular name request.
As a side note, the name Tigershark for the F-20A was eventually approved on 30 March 1983. It had originally been requested on 4 September 1981 for the F-5G, but was then rejected "due to a proliferation of popular names for the F-5 aircraft series and the speculative nature of the F-5G venture" [USAF quote].

 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
GG1001 was the first Tigershark. It was the F-5G 'engine change only' and was fitted out with an F-5E nose and avionics. On rollout it was called simply 'Tigershark' (this was while Northrop waited for official approval of the F-20A designation from the Pentagon) and was given the USAF tail number 82-0062. It had the flashy red and white paint scheme. In the fall of 1983, after the Paris Air Show and GI1001 began flying, it was repainted in air superiority grey with a lighter grey underbelly and an extremely ugly pyramidal F-20 logo on the vertical stabilizer. The logo was quickly changed match GI1001 - a the clean italic 'F-20' on the tail and a smaller italic 'F-20 Tigershark' on the nose.
In the face of increased USAF hostility to the F-20, the aircraft was given the civilian registration N4416T. It was repainted yet again the silivery 'BMW grey' scheme after the rollout of GI1002 in May 1984 and prior to departing for the Farnborough Air Show in August 1984.

GG1001 began flight test in August 1982, and had logged 240 flights by end of April 1983, including evaluation flights by 15 pilots from 10 potential customer nations. First 100 flights at rate of 10 per week, with a maximum of six sorties in one day and 14 sorties in a single week. During the period, only 4 of 244 departures were canceled, a mission reliability rate of 98.3%. Causes for the aborts were a hydraulic leak in a landing gear strut, a leaking aileron actuator seal, a control and augmentation system built-in test equipment failure, and a faulty roll gyro.

The aircraft flew 51 sorties in the first 21 days with a reliability rate of 100%, including 22 consecutive flights with no maintenance discrepancies. The goal of the early testing was to clear the flight envelope sufficiently to allow customer pilots to fly the aircraft. Even with the 16,000-lb thrust test engine, climb and acceleration were better than predicted, and fuel endurance was significantly better than predicted.

Longest flight on internal fuel was 2 hours 12 minutes, and 3 hours 1 minutes with a 275 gallon external tank. Handling has been excellent with the longitudinal flight control system. Mindful of having reversed its tradition of building only twin-engine aircraft for safety reasons, Northrop was striving to make the F404-100 engine have an in-flight shut-down / failure rate one tenth that of the F404-400 used in the twin-engine F-18.

The test engine had to removed once for foreign object damage after 178 flights and 115 flight hours. The engine was replaced, then repaired and available as a spare within a few days. The first 17,000 lb thrust engine was installed in GG1001 after return from the Paris Air Show.

GG1001 Chronology
August 1978 -
First Northrop Risk Work Authorization approved.

January 1980 - Northrop RWA (Risk Work Authorization) funded for full go ahead.
January 1980 - Long lead time material procurement initiated.
January 1980 - Systems and components lab tests initiated.
March 1980 - Redirection of Northrop design to Engine Change Only.
March 1980 - F-5G Tool design initiated.
March 1980 - Initial F-5G Work Breakdown Structure issued.
April 1980 - Production Development Center contractor selected.
April 1980 - Start of F-5G engineering/operations drawing release negotiations.
April 1980 - Initial US Air Force 1/10 scale F-5G high speed wind tunnel tests concluded.
April 1980 - F-5G Program Directive 1 issued to provide basic philosophies, assumptions, and direction. Program Directives 2 and 3 followed in April 80, and Program Directive 4 in May 1981.
May 1980 - Program Directive 2 issued, authorizing RWA (Risk Work Authorization) coverage for procurement of 41 F-5G shipsets of common F-5E/F-5G raw material.
July 1980 - F-5E/F-5G common drawing release.
July 1980 - F-5G tool fabrication initiated.
August 1980 - F-5G Program Directive 5 issued to establish a Corrective Action Plan for possible tooling problems on early F-5G aircraft.
August 1980 - F-5G Program Directive 6 issued to hold in abeyance the ground rule on deferral of non-mandatory and rate tooling pending outcome of a tooling policy review.
August 1980 - F-5G Program Directive 3 issued to establish use of PROCAT with model designation "GG".
August 1980 - F-5G Program Directive 4 issued to release the Program Master Operating Schedule.
September 1980 - Program Directive 7 issued (configuration management) to define ground rules on nomenclature, configuration management plan, configuration board, and F-5G common drawing release.
October 1980 - First major F-5G subcontracts issued (ATCS - AMAG - ECS - FCES).
November 1980 - Fabrication of first F-5G aircraft begun.
January 1981 - F-5G revised program master schedule approved , including both F-5G -1 and F-5G -2 configurations.
April 1981 - F-5G-1 Air vehicle Preliminary Design Review.
June 1981 - Program Directive G81-1 issued to document a freeze of the configuration of the F-5G-1 air vehicle GG 1001.
December 1981 - Program Directive G81-3 issued to document the freeze of the configuration baseline and establish a critical change order procedure.
This extended the handling of design changes on GG1001, 1002, 1003, 1004 to ensure the most efficient incorporation of changes.

January 1982 - Program Directive 13 issued, This revised planning for manufacture and use of the F-5G-1 flight test aircraft, GG 1004, and its conversion to F-5G-2 flight test aircraft GI-1001.
This redirected the GG1004 subprogram and resolved the difficult schedule conditions imposed by the multiple uses planned for the aircraft. Instead it would just be completed as the first F-5G-2.

March 1982 - Program Directive 18, Functional Fixture Requirements for the F-5G-1 and F-5G-2 programs issued.
This Program Directive established the requirements for a functional fixture in support of program criteria published in Program Directive 17. It directed that manufacturing material resources be minimized as much as possible while supporting functional fixture requirements.

May 1982 - Program Directive 26, F-5G program redirection. Cut back to a two aircraft program (GG1001 and GI1001).
May 1982 - Program Directive 25, planning for manufacture and use of F-5G-1 flight test aircraft.
This was issued to clarify activities scheduled for aircraft GG1001, which include participation in the 1983 Paris Air Show, spin susceptibility tests, and refurbishment for sale in the F-5G-2 configuration.

August 1982 - Program Directive 27, configuration for first flight of GG1001, issued.
By this time a management directive had come down to stop referring to the aircraft as the F-5G, but rather only the "Tigershark".

August 1982 - GG1001 Tigershark roll out at Hawthorne.
August 30, 1982 - First flight of GG1001 Tigershark at Edwards Air Force Base.
January 1983 - F-20 GG1001 completed 100th flight.
March 1983 - Program Directive 35, Paris International Air Show .
This was issued to provide configuration definition of the F-20A operational display at the Paris Air Show of 1983.

May 1983 - GG1001 flies at the Paris Air Show, through June.
July 15, 1983 - 300th flight of GG1001.
July 18, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by USAF pilots.
July 25, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Saudi pilots.
August 15, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Indonesian pilots.
August 22, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by New Zealand pilots.
August 29, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by German pilots.
September 5, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Portugese pilots.
September 19, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Moroccan pilots.
First Quarter 1984 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by USN pilots.
September 26, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Swiss pilots.
October 17, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Korean pilots.
October 24, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Austrian pilots.
November 7, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Brazilian pilots.
November 14, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Yugoslavian pilots.
December 5, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Bahrainian pilots.
December 12, 1983 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Colombian pilots.
First Quarter 1984 - Demonstration flights of GG1001 by Greek pilots.
September 1984 - Farnborough Air Show. The F-20 flight display was the hit of the show.
October 10, 1984 - Korean GG1001 crash. Darrel Cornell killed.
GG1001 crashed at Suwon Air Base in South Korea during a tactical performance demonstration. Northrop Chief Test Pilot Darrell E Cornell was killed. Cornell had just completed a simulated strafing run at an altitude of about 300 feet when he pulled the aircraft up to an altitude of 1500 to 2000 feet, began a roll, and extended the landing gear and flaps. The roll was not completed and the aircraft continued inverted in an arc and struck the ground. The turn-in pull-up over the runway, and 360-degree aileron roll during which the landing gear was extended, had been part of the standard F-20 flight demonstration performed by Cornell at air shows on the nearly-completed F-20 world tour. The maneuver usually ended with the aircraft about 1,000 feet near the downwind end of the runway from which a base leg was entered for landing.

Cornell was thrown clear from the aircraft on impact. The demonstration was being performed before South Korean military officials, including the Chief of Staff of the Korean Air Force. GG1001 and GI1002 had arrived in South Korea on October 8, the last stop in a series of visits to 19 countries. The two aircraft were to have returned to Edwards Air Force Base on October 12.

July 1985 - Official report of GG1001 crash in Korea issued, finding no aircraft malfunction.

 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
GI1001 was the first F-5G-2 aircraft with the digital avionics suite, panoramic canopy, enlarged radome, and 17,000 lb thrust engine. It was rolled out in a business-like air superiority grey paint scheme with the civilian tail number N3986B. Between the rollout of GI1002 in June 1984 and the departure of GI1001 in September 1984 for the Farnborough Air Show, GI1001 was repainted in the silvery BMW grey scheme. GI1001 was considered the most reliable of the three F-20's that flew.
GI1001 Chronology
August 1980 -
Integrated digital avionics configuration (F-5G -2) baseline defined.

December 1980 - F-5G -2 configuration and go-ahead approved.
January 1981 - F-5G revised program master schedule approved , including both F-5G -1 and F-5G -2 configurations.
February 1981 - F-5G-2 Radar Request for Proposal released.
March 1981 - F-5G-2 improved seat and canopy configuration changes approved.
January 1982 - Program Directive 13 issued, This revised planning for manufacture and use of the F-5G-1 flight test aircraft, GG 1004, and its conversion to F-5G-2 flight test aircraft GI-1001.
This redirected the GG1004 subprogram and resolved the difficult schedule conditions imposed by the multiple uses planned for the aircraft. Instead it would just be completed as the first F-5G-2.

March 1982 - Program Directive 18, Functional Fixture Requirements for the F-5G-1 and F-5G-2 programs issued.
This Program Directive established the requirements for a functional fixture in support of program criteria published in Program Directive 17. It directed that manufacturing material resources be minimized as much as possible while supporting functional fixture requirements.

May 1982 - Program Directive 26, F-5G program redirection. Cut back to a two aircraft program (GG1001 and GI1001).
March 1983 - Program Directive 33, GI1001 manufacture and flight test .
This was issued to establish the major milestone dates associated with manufacture and flight test of the first digital avionics aircraft, GI-1001.

July 25, 1983 - GI-1001 roll-out.
August 1983 - First flight of GI1001.
September 10, 1983 - GI1001 flies twelve simulated air-to-air sorties in one day at Edwards Air Force Base, demonstrating both reliability and surge capability.
December 1983 - GI1001 coast-to-coast unrefueled flight.
GI1001 flies from Edwards Air Force Base to Andrews AFB, Washington, DC, 2007 nm.

January 1984 - 500 F-20 flight milestone reached.
September 1984 - Farnborough Air Show. The F-20 flight display was the hit of the show.
May 14, 1985 - Goose Bay, Labrador GI1001 crash. Dave Barnes killed practicing for the Pairs Air Show.
F-20 GI1001 crashed at Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada,. killing Northrop test pilot David Barnes. The F-20 hit in an upright, wings level, nose-up attitude on snow-covered terrain. Two major secondary impacts were followed by further breakup of the aircraft. The wreckage was scattered approximately 1,000 feet from the initial crater. Northrop decided not to fly the remaining GI1002 prototype to the Paris Air Show and was unsure whether assembly of GI1003, which was to be completed in late 2006, would be accelerated.

GI1001 and a Northrop support crew were en route to the Paris Air Show and had stopped in Labrador for several days to allow Northrop test pilots David Barnes and Paul Metz to practice the air show routine before flying the F-20's across the Atlantic Ocean. The Northrop team had asked to fly a minimum of six flights per day during their stay. The accident occurred on 14 May at 1:50 pm Atlantic Daylight Time, at the conclusion of the sixth practice flight of the day. The F-20 and support team were scheduled to leave for Paris on May 16. Barnes had flown the demonstration flight routine 40 times in the last two months. Barnes, age 40, had been an engineering test pilot with Northrop since 1982. He had graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School in 1977. He completed a three-year tour at Eglin AFB, Florida, and returned to the test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base as an instructor before joining Northrop.

The support crew consisted of ten people, flying in the Northrop corporate Gulfstream 2 business jet. Northrop CEO T V Jones decided not to send GI1002 to Paris due to its commitment to flight test work at Edwards.

 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
After the crash of GG1001, it was decided to complete GI1002 from structural components already assembled for F-20 air frames on hold. It was rolled out in the BMW grey paint scheme and had the civlian tail number N44671. It was the lone F-20 for customer demonstration flights after the crash of GI1001. Prior to the F-20 program was cancellation in November 1986, it was planned that GI1002 would be fitted with a new nose and begin flight testing in January 1987 of the enhanced range radar within the enlarged radome; an improved INS; and a 17,000 pound thrust engine. Instead it was placed in storage for a few years, ready to be put back into flight status in case an F-20 co-production sale developed. When the F-20 was finally abandoned in the early 1990's GI1002 was donated to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where it can be viewed today.
GI1002 Chronology
May 12, 1984 -
GI 1002 first flight.

GI1002: GI1002. October 10, 1984 - Korean GG1001 crash. Darrel Cornell killed.
GG1001 crashed at Suwon Air Base in South Korea during a tactical performance demonstration. Northrop Chief Test Pilot Darrell E Cornell was killed. Cornell had just completed a simulated strafing run at an altitude of about 300 feet when he pulled the aircraft up to an altitude of 1500 to 2000 feet, began a roll, and extended the landing gear and flaps. The roll was not completed and the aircraft continued inverted in an arc and struck the ground. The turn-in pull-up over the runway, and 360-degree aileron roll during which the landing gear was extended, had been part of the standard F-20 flight demonstration performed by Cornell at air shows on the nearly-completed F-20 world tour. The maneuver usually ended with the aircraft about 1,000 feet near the downwind end of the runway from which a base leg was entered for landing.

Cornell was thrown clear from the aircraft on impact. The demonstration was being performed before South Korean military officials, including the Chief of Staff of the Korean Air Force. GG1001 and GI1002 had arrived in South Korea on October 8, the last stop in a series of visits to 19 countries. The two aircraft were to have returned to Edwards Air Force Base on October 12.

GI1002: GI1002. January 1985 - F-20 GI1002 conducts bomb drop tests at Edwards.
During a sortie at Edwards Air Force Base GI1002 demonstrated good stability and tracking while carrying Mk. 82 bombs on all stores stations and AIM-9 Sidewinders on the wingtips. Drops while using the CCRP (Continuously Computed Release Point) mode during level flight with bombing run pull-ups over 3G's resulted with impacts within 45 feet of target. CCIP (Continuously Computed Impact Point) mode was also demonstrated.

GI1002: GI1002. May 14, 1985 - Goose Bay, Labrador GI1001 crash. Dave Barnes killed practicing for the Pairs Air Show.
F-20 GI1001 crashed at Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada,. killing Northrop test pilot David Barnes. The F-20 hit in an upright, wings level, nose-up attitude on snow-covered terrain. Two major secondary impacts were followed by further breakup of the aircraft. The wreckage was scattered approximately 1,000 feet from the initial crater. Northrop decided not to fly the remaining GI1002 prototype to the Paris Air Show and was unsure whether assembly of GI1003, which was to be completed in late 2006, would be accelerated.

GI1001 and a Northrop support crew were en route to the Paris Air Show and had stopped in Labrador for several days to allow Northrop test pilots David Barnes and Paul Metz to practice the air show routine before flying the F-20's across the Atlantic Ocean. The Northrop team had asked to fly a minimum of six flights per day during their stay. The accident occurred on 14 May at 1:50 pm Atlantic Daylight Time, at the conclusion of the sixth practice flight of the day. The F-20 and support team were scheduled to leave for Paris on May 16. Barnes had flown the demonstration flight routine 40 times in the last two months. Barnes, age 40, had been an engineering test pilot with Northrop since 1982. He had graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School in 1977. He completed a three-year tour at Eglin AFB, Florida, and returned to the test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base as an instructor before joining Northrop.

The support crew consisted of ten people, flying in the Northrop corporate Gulfstream 2 business jet. Northrop CEO T V Jones decided not to send GI1002 to Paris due to its commitment to flight test work at Edwards.

GI1002: GI1002. July 1985 - Dayton Air Show.
GI1002: GI1002. November 1986 - Development of the F-20 terminated.
GI1002: GI1002.

 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
F-20 GI1003 was to be configured with the changes planned for production aircraft. The aircraft was being built on production tooling and was originally scheduled for completion in 1986. Changes included:


  • Improved AN/APG-67(V) radar with larger antenna, providing greater detection and lock-on range in all modes. To accommodate the larger antenna, the radar was to be moved aft 6 inches in the nose and the forward fuselage would receive minor recontouring. Additional internal space was obtained by replacing the two M-39 guns of the previous F-20 configuration with a new Ford Aerospace 30 mm cannon. In look-up mode the radar range would be increased by about one-third, matching the F-16C performance of detecting a MiG-23 target at a range of 50 nm in a head-on, closing position. The larger antenna was to be flown in a modified General Electric flight-test aircraft before the GI1003 was completed. There was a controversy between Northrop and the subcontractor whether the radar would be tested on the C-54 testbed used previously by General Electric. Northrop wanted to have the new radar tested in a new, more expensive, modified business jet that could fly at speeds and altitudes more representative of the F-20.

  • Increased internal fuel from 4400 to 5050 pounds, by using an integral fuel tank design. Northrop even considered a wet vertical stabilizer in an attempt to match the F-16C's range performance for the Koreans, but this was rejected as providing too marginal an increase for the change required. Instead the external fuel tanks would be increased in size to 275 gallons from the 230 gallons cleared previously for the aircraft.

  • Improved F404 engine with thrust increased to 18,000 pounds in afterburner compared to the 17,000 pounds previously.

  • Redesigned leading and trailing edge maneuvering flaps, driven at three points instead of a single point. Using electromagnetic actuators, they would be faster acting and capable of being automatically set at many more positions. This would be the first use of electromagentic actuators on a fighter aircraft, and go a long way toward making the F-20 the first 'all electric' fighter. The thrust and flap changes would result in a 2 deg/second increase in the F-20's turn rate, matching that of the F-16C.
GI1003 would validate all of these production changes, allowing first delivery of a production aircraft 24 months after contract signature. Machining of structural aluminum parts of the center fuselage of GI1003 was under way to the Northrop Production Development Center in Hawthorne, California. Skin had been attached to the vertical stabilizer and tooling was being prepared for the center fuselage section.

After the cancellation of F-20 development, attempts were still made to sell the F-20 to coproduction partners. In that case GI1003 would have been the first aircraft completed by the licensee. The customer would receive the GI1003 components already finished, but complete the final aircraft according to the customer configuration selected. GI1003 components were scrapped in the early 1990's.

 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
Northrop believed strongly that one factor in the loss of its F-17 design to General Dynamic's F-16 in the Lightweight Fighter competition of 1974 was the snazzy red-white-blue paint job GD had applied to the F-16 prototype. The F-17, by contrast, was painted an elegant but muted silver with blue and black detailing. Mock-ups of the F-5G aircraft displayed at the beginning of the program were painted in tan-green camouflage. But for the August 1982 roll-out, the first GG1001 aircraft appeared in a flashy bright red paint scheme with white racing stripes. But after a while the paint scheme was seen as mitigating against sales. It looked like a 'goddamn sports plane' instead of a fighter.
By the 1980's stealth was 'in' and US fighters were all in matte air superiority gray, a scheme that both reduced the aircraft's radar signature and lowered its visibility. So GI1001 was rolled out in July 1983 in air superiority gray, and GG1001 was repainted in the same color. Since GG1001 had no Emerson radar installed, there was no problem painting over the radome.

When GI1002 was rolled out in May 1984, it was also in air superiority gray, but some marketing genius had painted a grotesque-looking pyramidal-shaped F-20 logo in large white letters on the vertical stabilizer. This didn't last very long, and for a while all three aircraft were in air superiority gray.

But now there was nothing to distinguish them from other fighter aircraft. Then Northrop CEO T V Jones decided that that the perfect paint scheme would be the same metallic finish as their BMW. The orders went out for the aircraft to be painted in BMW gray. The problem was that the metallic paint, if applied to the radome, would destroy its radar-transparent qualities. For the fist public display of the new color, one of the radomes was painted over, ruining it. It was decided that the other radomes would be cycled back to Brunswick and painted a radio-transparent black. But until they were all finished, some of the F-20's flew with metallic BMW gray or light air superiority gray radomes, which actually looked quite spiffy. But eventually all were standardized in BMW gray, with black radomes. GG1001 was painted black behind the radome line to match the shark-nosed GI1001/GI1002, roughly. The BMW gray finish was pretty cool, but gave the photographers headaches. It could appear inky black at high altitudes in a clear sky, and was difficult to photograph correctly against clouds with high contrast differences.

 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,563
Reaction score
3,845
Cusotmer Base
At the time of the launch of the F-5G in January 1980 a total of 17 customers for 1236 aircraft were identified. 'Core 1' customers were the four in the near-term with the largest requirement. 'Core 2' customers were those of lesser quantities or farther out. Those already operating F-5E's, some with coproduction in place that could be transitioned to the F-5G, are indicated by asterisks.

Core 1:

  • Taiwan - 80 * This was the launch customer for the F-20. In January 1980 it was expected that a Letter of Agreement would be signed by the end of 1980. In fact, the Carter administration, preoccupied with a myriad of foreign crises and the upcoming election, deferred a decision to 1981. Carter lost the election, and Reagan became president. Following a year of political tug-of-war, Reagan vetoed the sale to Taiwan in January 1982. Secretly a program for General Dynamics to assist Taiwan in development of a an Indigenous Fighter Aircraft began in May 1982 as a replacement.
  • Korea - 200 * Korea was seen as a longer-term customer, with the existing Korean F-5E production line transitioning to the F-5G. Korea remained the most important potential launch customer after Taiwan was blocked, even after further development of the F-20 was discontinued in November 1986. Ultimately revelation of a bribery scandal ended any chance for a Korean Tigershark in 1988. Korea selected the F-18 for its requirement, only to abandon that in 1991 and finally settle on the F-16C.
  • Turkey - 100 * Turkey was looking for a large-scale aircraft coproduction program to develop their aviation industry under the auspices of the state-owned TUSAS firm.
  • Egypt - 80
Core 2:

  • Thailand - 18 *
  • Singapore - 24 *
  • Indonesia - 16 *
  • Malaysia - 16
  • Spain - 72 *
  • Pakistan - 124
  • Switzerland - 50 *
  • Greece - 100 *
  • Netherlands - 110 *
  • Norway - 50 *
  • Austria - 24
  • Nigeria - 24
  • Jordan - 48 *
By near the end of the F-20 program in July 1986 ITAR clearance had been requested for the following additional countries that expressed interest in the aircraft:
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Cameroon
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Germany
  • India
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Oman
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Sweden
  • Tunisia
  • UAE
  • UK
  • Venezuela
  • Yugoslavia

 

Similar threads

Top