Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

The F5 in Vietnam.

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

The F5 in Vietnam.

Old 9th Nov 2016, 09:35
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 1,964
The F5 in Vietnam.

Curious as to why this extremely maneuverable fighter, despite being
in theater during the war was not used in the air to air role.


The F-4 was having its clock cleaned by the MIG 21 which could easily
turn inside it and the Phantom crews were often unable to retaliate
even if given the opportunity as they had no gun and their missiles
usually didn't work.
stilton is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 09:41
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Alps
Posts: 2,612
As I recall it was more as Mutual Defence Aid supplied to the VNAF even ex Iranian air force machines (there is a photo in one of my books on Vietnam air war being unpacked at Bien Hoa still wearing markings)

They were nicknamed the 'Skoshi' Tigers,

cheers
chopper2004 is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 10:42
  #3 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 1,964
I know the VNAF used them but the USAF also used them for ground attack, this is what's puzzling.
stilton is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 10:55
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Here and there. Here at the moment but soon I'll be there.
Posts: 758
Probably down to the F-5 primarily being for MDAP/FMS export, and U.S brass favouring the mainstream service types regardless of their capabilities and weaknesses (call it prejudice if you like).
SkyHawk-N is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 11:06
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Starring at an Airfield Near you
Posts: 304
I seem to recall an article in Flying Review International (yes, THAT many years ago!) that ran a summary of the Skoshi Tiger evaluation that basically said the USAF thought the F-5A was fine for export customers but not suitable for adoption by the USAF (especially in Vietnam) due to:
Hot and High performance
Extended take-off runs

Restricted payload
Low basic payload/range capability (Skoshi Tigers were fitted for probe-drogue In-flight refuelling to enable even a modest warload capability on take-off to offset these basic shortcomings)

Limited range capability in the base-case due to the very thirsty J85s and limited tankage requiring a centreline tank to be carried in most cases – again restricting weapons carrying capability

Lack of amour protection against small-arms ground-fire (was some plating added to the Skoshi Tigers to reduce this – but exacerbated the warload/range issues?)

Lack off survivability led to their use being restricted to south of the DMZ

Lack of a sophisticated weapons delivery system
I suspect that all the foregoing - allied to a poor thrust/weight ratio and Specific Excess Power to enable effective dog-fighting (has there ever been a F-5A vs Mig-21 engagement?) – mitigated against its use in the air superiority role over N Vietnam.

The Skoshi Tiger evaluation laid the grounds for the development of the much-improved F-5E (especially the adoption of the J85-21) that did what it could to address the results of the ‘damned by faint praise’ report, and incidentally led to the adoption of the Tiger II sobriquet for the F-5E as a ‘nod’ towards the importance of that deployment.

Now, Total Health Warning: the above may be total tosh, as it WAS many years ago – I was about 13 - and I may have got things completely wrong from my memory as, clearly, I don’t still have that copy of F R I!
Downwind.Maddl-Land is online now  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 11:21
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: California
Posts: 122
I would think it was because the MiGs were predominately operated over North Vietnam in a defensive role (at least until the final days of the war) and the F-5 simply didn't have the legs to get there.
TheWestCoast is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 12:27
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,576
Stacks of vintage Flying Review magazines on sale on eBay from about £1.50 a go, including this one with the article "Flying the F5" here: Flying Review International September 1965 | eBay
Warmtoast is online now  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 12:53
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Starring at an Airfield Near you
Posts: 304
Warmtoast

Wow! Now that takes me back!!!! And if that was the year/era - I was 11 not 13!
Downwind.Maddl-Land is online now  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 17:56
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: virginia, USA
Age: 54
Posts: 933
I agree with the aircraft limitations pointed out by Downwind, and the range restrictions by WestCoast and others. Sending a small, daylight only fighter, with limited A-to-A armament that far north would have been a real stretch. Sure the F-5 would have been a contender in a knife fight/dogfight against the MiGs, but it was likely better to avoid a turning dogfight at all. The MiGs rarely ventured far.


As for the F-4 "getting it's clock cleaned" that was more true early in the war, but after the Ault report looked into the aircraft, the weapons and most importantly the tactics and training things improved quite a bit. The main lesson was never to get low and slow and into a turning dogfight with the MiG-21 (or MiG 17). Things improved quite a bit after that. Many F-4 losses were also when the aircraft was bombed up and operating as a bomb truck.
sandiego89 is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2016, 19:08
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Here and there. Here at the moment but soon I'll be there.
Posts: 758
Just some info from Air Force records;

The Air Force only ever had a handful of F-5A which they 'borrowed' from MDAP stock for evaluation in SEA. For this they had modifications carried out by Northrop, including the addition of inflight refueling capability (were range limitations a problem?) and re-designated F-5C. They flew from Bien Hoa AB with the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing.

By the end of 1966 they had 18 on hand and were only flying them for around 500hrs/month carrying out combat support. A couple were lost to flying accidents within 100 days of arriving in SEA.

By 1969 only one example was still on the Air Force inventory (I think for testing at Edwards AFB). Most of the other had been handed over under MAP to the SVNAF at Bien Hoa, or had been written off.

Here's a list of them if anyone interested;

65-10513 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10514 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10515 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10518 To SVNAF 17-APR-1967
65-10519 Crashed 26-SEP-1966
65-10520 Crashed 07-DEC-1966
65-10524 To SVNAF 19-APR-1967
65-10525 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10526 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10540 Crashed 04-MAR-1967
65-10546 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10547 To SVNAF 10-MAY-1967
65-10555 Returned to USA 31-MAY-1967, then to MAP 07-APR-1968
65-10556 Returned to USA 23-MAR-1968, then to MAP 07-APR-1968
65-10558 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10559 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10560 To SVNAF 16-APR-1967
65-10586 Returned to USA 14-MAR-1967, then to MAP 18-MAR-1967

Last edited by SkyHawk-N; 9th Nov 2016 at 20:53.
SkyHawk-N is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2016, 05:10
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: the far south
Posts: 496
extremely maneuverable? With such a wing loading!
typerated is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2016, 11:13
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: California
Posts: 122
Would be interesting if there ever had been a Fishbed vs Tiger engagement, given that the latter's main role in US service was to simulate the former.
TheWestCoast is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2016, 13:21
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Here and there. Here at the moment but soon I'll be there.
Posts: 758
Ethiopian F-5E and Somali MiG-21MF engagement.

Apparently the Soviets got hold of a couple of ex. SVNAF F-5 and evaluated them against their types. There's a picture of one here.
SkyHawk-N is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2016, 17:26
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Lincs
Posts: 2,277
SkyHawk-N,

Video of Vietnamese supplied F-5E being tested in Russia.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e52_1320882209
Poland and Czechoslovakia also received F-5Es for evaluation.

Northrop F-5E Tiger II - Vietnam - Air Force | Aviation Photo #2447706 | Airliners.net

Northrop F-5E Tiger II - Vietnam - Air Force | Aviation Photo #1443240 | Airliners.net
TEEEJ is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2016, 17:42
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Here and there. Here at the moment but soon I'll be there.
Posts: 758
Interesting video and pictures. Shame the video is narrated in Russian, would be good to understand what was being said.
SkyHawk-N is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2016, 18:43
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 66
Posts: 3,413
I don't recall where I read, but my understanding was that later in the war - after F-4 incorporated improved tactics and such, the MIGs were primarily used to drive the F-4s lower in altitude where they where easier prey for the SAMs and AAA. Although the MIGs did well early, late in the war most F-4 losses were to SAMs and ground fire.
tdracer is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2016, 19:48
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 176
Both Kbely, CZ and Krakow, Pl each have an F-5E on display.
They have had them for many years and both came from Russia and are ex VNAF a/c.
Was an eye opener for myself & friends when we first saw them years ago.
This was before both museums started exchanging a/c with western museums.
Good Vibs is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2016, 20:50
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 70
I remember a story going round at the end of the Vietnam war that 10 people got to Thailand in a F5 .I assume it was a B model with a seat removed.
canard68 is offline  
Old 11th Nov 2016, 05:07
  #19 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 1,964
Er ok but 10 people in an F5 ?!
stilton is offline  
Old 11th Nov 2016, 07:12
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: NSW
Posts: 99
My friend Skip Holm who flew Thuds and F-4's in Vietnam also flew Mig-21's and Mig-17's as a USAF test pilot [also F-117 intial test pilot] and told me that if the USAF really knew how good the Mig-21 was at dog fighting he would have been even more scared of them..
TBM-Legend is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.