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The Northrop F-5 tactical fighter was designed as an extremely maneuverable, supersonic fighter with a high rate of reliability at a low operating cost. The F-5 first flew on July 30, 1959 with the first customer delivery in 1964. The last of more than 2,600 F-5’s was produced in 1989 and about two-thirds of these are still in service with 26 countries more than 4 decades later. The F-5 was manufactured by Northrop Grumman and under license in Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.
In 1976 an F-5E s/n 76-1557 was constructed and spent time with the Swiss Air Force as J-3032. When the Swiss Air Force began to retire their F-5s, the U.S. decided to acquired 32 low-hour “E” variants that would equip Aggressor Squadrons. These F-5Es were upgraded to “N” specifications and added new aircraft to VFC-111 “Sun Downers”. VFC-111 is part of the USN Reserve’s fleet adversary program and provides air combat training to the USN and USMC. F-5N 761557 was delivered to VFC-111 in 2004 and is still flying wearing a 3-tone grey scheme.
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