More than 25 years after its first flight, the Northrop F-5E Tiger II is alive and well in the U.S. inventory. The Navy has completed the purchase and refurbishment of 44 ex-Swiss air force Tigers, which have replaced the original F-5Es used for aggressor - sorry, adversary - training. The "new" aircraft are designated F-5Ns and expected to serve in that role until at least 2015.
Ex-Swiss F-5Ns (Photo: via U.S. Navy)
The ex-Swiss Tigers have better handling than the F-5Es they replaced. And now the Navy is upgrading the aircraft's inertial navigation system, installing the Northrop fiber-optic-gyro LN-260 used in the F-16. With the upgrade comes an embedded GPS and new multi-function touchscreen display. With China still producing and exporting MiG-21-class lightweight fighters, the F-5 looks to have an ongoing role in dissimilar air-combat training.