Northrop SF-5M Freedom Fighter (X2)

The Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter began life as a privately funded light fighter project intended to produce a high performance, low cost and low maintenance light fighter with a secondary ground attack role. The type was first selected during 1956 as the US Air Force’s next advanced jet trainer to replace the T-33 and was designated the T-38 Talon. It wasn’t until 1962 was the F-5A ordered into production as a low-cost fighter aircraft for export by President Kennedy. The F-5A was operated by a number of nations and also license built in Canada and Spain. Whilst the F-5A saw very limited USAF service, however the much-improved F-5E Tiger II saw significant service and is still used today by the US Navy/Marine Corps as an aggressor combat trainer. The F-5E has also been an export success and can still be found in operational use in various modernised forms with Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Iran, Kenya, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Ejército del Aire has operated the F-5 as an advanced jet trainer since 1970, celebrating the types 50th anniversary in Spanish service during November 2020. A total of 70 F-5s were originally ordered and the fleet was split between 34 two-seat trainers known as the CE.9, 18 single seat fighters known as the C.9 and 18 reconnaissance aircraft known as the CR.9. Today, only the two seat SF-5M aircraft are still in service, now designated as the AE.9, and are all flown from by Ala 23 based at Talavera la Real Air Base near the Portuguese border.

We are incredibly pleased to announce that the EdA will be providing a pair of these very rare aircraft for static display at this year’s Air Tattoo as part of Spain’s contribution to our celebration of 75 years of NATO.

Photo Credit: Jamie Hunter

On display

Role Friday Saturday Sunday
Static Not decided Yes Yes