Northrop F-5B Freedom Fighter

A picture of the F-5B Freedom Fighter

The F-5 was developed in conjunction with the T-38 Talon trainer as a private venture of the Northrop company.  The U.S. Government selected it in 1962 for production as an export fighter for countries participating in the Military Assistance Program.  The F-5 was built in two main versions; the F-5A was a single seat fighter while the F-5B was a two-seat trainer that was also capable of combat operations.  The F-5 first flew in 1959 and was used by the U.S. Air Force to train foreign pilots starting in 1964.  A total of 18 countries flew the F-5 and they were also license built in Canada and Spain. 

Service History:

Built by Northrop Aircraft, Palmdale, California and delivered to the U.S. Air Force on November 10, 1972.

November 1972          To 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, Williams AFB, Arizona.

August 1979                To 405th Tactical Training Wing, Williams AFB, Arizona.

May 1984                    Designated as a ground training airframe (GF-5B.)

July 1984                    To the Inter-American Air Force Academy, Albrook AFB, Panama.

October 1989              To Homestead AFB, Florida.

May 2001                    Loaned to Pima Air & Space Museum by the National Museum of the United States Air Force.


25 ft 3 in.


46 ft 4 in.


13 ft 1 in.


20,677 lbs (loaded)

Maximum Speed

885 MPH

Service Ceiling

52,000 ft


3,660 miles


Two General Electric J85-GE-13 turbojets with 4,080 pounds of thrust




58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, Williams AFB, Arizona, 1972


Serial Number

Pima Air & Space Museum

Creating unlimited horizons in aerospace education through the preservation and presentation of the history of flight.

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