The first F-5N aircraft has been delivered to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland to kick off flight and ground tests of the redesigned F-5 tactical fighter jet as part of a prototyping project meant to improve readiness and safety.
The Navy’s Specialized and Proven Aircraft program office, PMA-226, will use the results from the tests to convert 16 F-5E and six F-5F aircraft purchased from the Swiss air force under the Avionics Reconfiguration and Tactical Enhancement/Modernization for Inventory Standardization program, Naval Air Systems Command said Monday.
The aircraft under the F-5 block upgrade prototype project will feature modernized avionics, cockpit and other systems that could provide fuel level warnings, protection from severe weather, air-to-ground warning functionality and other tactical capabilities that could enhance “friendly” force air-to-air training.
“This program will provide modernized aircraft with exceptional avionics and tactical capabilities which are needed to allow pilots to practice the tactics and techniques employed against a near-peer threat. Delivery of these improvements will ensure realistic and relevant tactical training the pilots need to win in combat,” said Capt. Ramiro Flores, PMA-226 program manager.
The delivered aircraft is one of the three F-5N planes that will be used as prototypes in the F-5 block upgrade project. PMA-226 finalized the ARTEMIS program's independent logistics assessment in June and expects to achieve a Milestone C decision in early fiscal year 2022.