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At the end of the year, Taiwan officially retires its F-5E/F Tiger fleet

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    At the end of the year, Taiwan officially retires its F-5E/F Tiger fleet

    Along with increasing the number of upgraded F-16 Vipers and the planned arrival of 'new' production F-16 Vipers from Lockheed Martin, the Taiwanese Air Force has planned to replace the role of the AT-3 trainer aircraft and the F-5 E/F Tiger light fighter jet. he is old. 

    In particular, the F-5 fighter jet fleet will be officially retired at the end of this year. However, not all F-5s will be retired, there are variants that will continue to be operated.

    Quoted by Taiwan News – taiwannews.com (5/11/2023), Taiwanese military officials said that the reconnaissance variant of the F-5, namely the RF-5E Tigereye, would still be maintained, where this aircraft would be operated together with the F-16 Viper.

    The complete retirement of the RF-5E reconnaissance aircraft is planned to be carried out after the Taiwan Air Force receives the MS-110 Airborne Reconnaissance Pod system and the MQ-9B drone, and when domestically produced drones begin operating for combat missions.

    Created as part of the development of the F-5E Tiger, the RF-5E Tigereye was designed by Northrop with advanced features for its time. Because it is classified as strategic defense equipment, the confidentiality element of the device is key in the operation of this jet, and because it carries a modular concept, the sensors and cameras embedded in the nose of the RF-5E Tigereye are not the same for each country.

    Northrop initially prepared four KS-121A cameras or one KS-87B camera in the muzzle of the RF-5E. However, like the RF-5E belonging to the Malaysian Air Force, it turns out that the surveillance equipment it carries is different.

    The RF-5E Tigereye Malaysia is said to be equipped with a choice of three pallets. Pallet 1 is equipped with a KA-95B medium altitude panoramic camera, KA-56E low-altitude panoramic camera and RS-710E IR Linescan. Then palette 2 combines the KA-56E camera with the KA-93B6 panoramic camera. Then there are 3 pallets with KS-174A cameras to support the LOROP (Long Range Oblique Photo) mission.

    RF-5E users are not limited to Taiwan and Malaysia, this reconnaissance aircraft is also operated by Saudi Arabia, Singapore and South Korea. Created as part of the development of the F-5E Tiger, the RF-5E Tigereye was designed by Northrop with advanced features for its time.

    Meanwhile, retired F-5 fighter jets may be moved to training units or on display, or could be used as decoy aircraft near airport runways.

    With the retirement of the F-5 fleet, the position of light twin-engine fighter jet will be filled by the T-5 Brave Eagle, which is produced domestically by the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC). The advanced jet trainer (AJT) T-5 Brave Eagle (in Chinese called Yun Yin) first flew in June 2020.

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