F-5 Talon / Freedom Fighter in Action (Aircraft 38)
By Lou Drendel
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1980 52 Pages
PDF 8 MB
Northrop had a better idea. Back In the mid-fifties, when most new fighters were growing ever larger, more complex, and more expensive. Northrop took a long, hard look at the trend and decided to go the other way. Now, twenty years later, the lightweight fighter is in vogue, and follow-on versions of Norair's brainchild are still in production. It may never become the most prolific jet fighter in U.S. history (the Phantom and Sabre have wide leads in that department), but it may well set a production longevity mark before being supplanted by the F-18L sometime in the eighties.
The impetus for the Northrop program was provided by the considerable market for sales to allied nations under the Military Assistance Program. Most of these nations were equipped with the F-86 or F-84 early in the fifth decade of this century. Following a 1954 tour of European and Asian nations, Northrop engineers realized that most of our allies would not have the financial wherewithal to cope with the increasing cost of the Century Series and later fighters when their '86s and '84s began to wear out.