F-5 Tigers still making news

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edpop

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Unread post20 Oct 2020, 21:50

Northrop_F-5_EM.jpg
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has taken delivery of its final F-5EM fighter from Embraer. FAB 4810 was handed over to the customer at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto plant last week. A total of 49 aircraft underwent the modernization program. The aircraft delivery on October 14 marked the completion of a 15-year program that saw the company overhaul a total of 49 Northrop Grumman-built light fighters. Embraer was responsible for fitting the aging aircraft with Italian Grifo F multimode radars, electronic countermeasures and the capability to employ a range of modern missiles and laser-guided bombs. The overhaul will allow the aircraft to remain in service into the 2030s. Brazil started operating the aircraft in 1975 after ordering the first 42 units a year before. In 1988, the country bought additional aircraft in the form of used F-5s from the US Air Force and subsequently from Jordan. Northrop Grumman built well over a thousand of F-5 fighters that saw service with close to twenty countries.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post20 Oct 2020, 23:13

To bad they never made an adequate replacement for the F-5's GE J85 Engines. As even a modest increase in performance and efficiency. Would have been a big plus....
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Unread post21 Oct 2020, 13:06

Corsair1963 wrote:To bad they never made an adequate replacement for the F-5's GE J85 Engines. As even a modest increase in performance and efficiency. Would have been a big plus....


F-CK-1 uses twin Honeywells in a similar vein. F-CK-1 is a large increase in size over F-5. One afterburning Honeywell retains a nice fineness ratio comparative to two J85 for better efficiency and big increase in time between overhauls. You drop off at the top end speed at altitude for way better thrust on the deck. So there is a good replacement available.
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Unread post21 Oct 2020, 15:38

madrat wrote: So there is a good replacement available.

I disagree on the grounds that no matter how improved thrust, efficiency, reliability, etc are if you cannot pull one engine out and put the new engine in with little more than a new mounting bracket (and a few other things) then there is not a "replacement". Going from 2 engines to 1 is a full rebuild. Going from a smaller engine to a larger engine is a rebuild. Going from a larger engine to a smaller engine CAN be a replacement (TF30 to F110).
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Unread post21 Oct 2020, 19:14

They literally a major rebuilt F-5EM, so if they felt there was a need they would have done it then. If someone was going for a lightweight fighter these days I don't think they would aim so low.
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Unread post21 Oct 2020, 19:18

madrat wrote:They literally a major rebuilt F-5EM.

What structurally was changed? I'm not being antagonistic, I actually want to know. I love the idea of refurbishing older gen aircraft.
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Unread post21 Oct 2020, 22:19

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
madrat wrote:They literally a major rebuilt F-5EM.

What structurally was changed? I'm not being antagonistic, I actually want to know. I love the idea of refurbishing older gen aircraft.


Re-designated as F-5EM and F-5FM, the upgraded aircraft are equipped with advanced electronic warfare systems, targeting and self-defence systems, SELEX Grifo F radar, INS/GPS-based navigation and air-to-air refuelling systems, as well as greater operational capabilities, extending its service life by at least 15 more years.

Additional features include hands on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS), helmet mounted displays (HMDs), radar warning receiver, encrypted communications, cockpit compatibility for night vision goggles, on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS) and several other new onboard computer upgrades.

"Upgraded F-5E fighters are operated by fighter squadrons based in Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and Canoas, Brazil."
The aircraft is also capable of establishing secure communication with FAB's R-99 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and ground stations.


Powered by two General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines, the F-5 Tiger II is a single-seat, supersonic fighter aircraft designed to conduct air-to-ground and air-to-air operations.
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Unread post22 Oct 2020, 01:45

madrat wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:To bad they never made an adequate replacement for the F-5's GE J85 Engines. As even a modest increase in performance and efficiency. Would have been a big plus....


F-CK-1 uses twin Honeywells in a similar vein. F-CK-1 is a large increase in size over F-5. One afterburning Honeywell retains a nice fineness ratio comparative to two J85 for better efficiency and big increase in time between overhauls. You drop off at the top end speed at altitude for way better thrust on the deck. So there is a good replacement available.


That would require a major redesign of the aft end of the aircraft and likely the intakes. So, you may as well rebuild the F-5 into a F-5G (F-20) with an even more powerful GE F404. Yet, I am sure that would be to expensive. Otherwise, it would have already happen....

Honestly, any J85 replacement in the F-5. Would have to be a direct replacement. (i.e. fit) Yet, considering the vast numbers of F-5's and T-38's built. Plus, the fact that each aircraft has two engines. Still seems odd nobody came up with an alternative....
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Unread post22 Oct 2020, 02:28

https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/br ... ram-06837/

Summary: New nose for Selex/Leonardo Grifo F radar, integration of MIL-STD 1553B databus, refueling probe added, night vision compatible cockpit displays, removed one gun, a new mission computers, encrypted communication (Datalink BR-2), 3 new digital LCD-based MFDs, DASH-HMD integration and equipment (allowing off-boresight target designation), new HUD, HOTAS controls, fuel management, redundant GPS, new INS, an OBOGS, improved IFF, self-protection decoy/chaff/flare launchers, support for external jamming pods and Rafael Litening III targeting pods, a new radar warning receiver, wiring for the use of Rafael’s Sky Shield electronic warfare pod, and newer ejection seats. New virtual in-flight training systems that can simulate a wide variety of situations. Also provision for their MICRA cruise missile in the future.

I'd be willing to guess Elbit leveraged the Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero) experience with Gripo F integration on Singapore F-5's.

https://www.flightglobal.com/making-a-m ... 68.article

A longer nose brought with it stability problems, so the solution was to move the forward bulkhead back by 330mm to accommodate the larger, built-to-measure, antenna.

"As far as possible we didn't want to change the external shape, otherwise you have to requalify the whole aircraft over again for stability and control. It not only pushes up the risk, but adds to the cost," explains Lim Serh Ghee, vice-president of ST Aero's Engineering and Development Centre (EDC).


IIRC the F-5EM/FM were given a major inspection at the 600 hours mark after each rebuild to validate the success of the program's quality.
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Unread post23 Oct 2020, 05:53

The F-5 is a 50+ year old aircraft.

If you want to go with a "new engine" or a re-design... then buy an engine with a new aircraft around it.

They are upgrading F-5's because they don't want to spend the additional money.

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:I love the idea of refurbishing older gen aircraft.


You love the idea because of nostalgia? Or because it seems militarily cost effective?
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Unread post23 Oct 2020, 06:41

I think only sensible option would be to upgrade the engines like USAF did for their T-38s almost 20 years ago:
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... 10%29.html

LYNN, Mass.---The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has awarded a 10-year, $601 million contract to GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) to provide hardware upgrade kits for 1,202 J85-5 engines powering the USAF fleet of 509 T-38 "Talon" supersonic jet trainers.


The upgrade kit consists of an improved technology "spooled" compressor rotor and stator assembly, a single-piece cast mainframe, upgrade components for the high-pressure turbine section, an improved afterburner liner, and a new ignition system. The kit also includes a new exhaust ejector nozzle to achieve higher net thrust at takeoff and lower fuel burn throughout the aircraft flight envelope.

The new eight-stage compressor rotor assembly, which can be readily installed, will sharply reduce engine life-cycle costs through improved durability and lower parts count, and by allowing individual blade replacement without rotor disassembly.

GEAE estimates reductions in life-cycle costs from the upgrade kit, including significantly reduced maintenance hours, will exceed $500 million over the next 40 years.


I don't think replacing the engine would be economically viable. No direct replacement exists, so it would need to be either developed or the whole aircraft structrurally modified. Both would be expensive and they would take years. I think by that point it would be better for Brazil to just buy more Gripens.
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Unread post23 Oct 2020, 11:59

You mean that if anybody wanted one. There hasn't been any call for one or there would have been.

The LWF market is pretty crowded as it is with minimum global sales. Spending money to improve the original F-5 for any new build with a new engine simply cannot be justified.
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Unread post23 Oct 2020, 13:20

huggy wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:I love the idea of refurbishing older gen aircraft.


You love the idea because of nostalgia? Or because it seems militarily cost effective?


Nostalgia mostly. But as a "case in point" Germany and Greece operated F-4s with AMRAAM. That is a big capability upgrade that requires no new airframe purchase, logistics, or training.
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Unread post23 Oct 2020, 22:32

Speaking of the devil, one of NASA's T-38s just past low over my house in Galveston, TX.
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Unread post27 Oct 2020, 12:17

I can see how these smaller countries might want to upgrade such an old design. Despite its age, the F-5 has a lot to offer. It's simple, cheap to operate, easy to fix and hard to see. Put a good radar and missile on it, and you can put up a pretty good fight in certain parts of the world (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Switzerland). Taiwan's F-5E's with Sky Sword II certainly come to mind. And I'm pretty sure Singapore modified its birds to carry AMRAAM.

I'd be curious to know if any of these up-rated F-5's ever attended Red Flag. Would be interesting to see how they fared, particularly the Taiwan models...
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