Close this search box.

Chung Cheng F-5E/F

In 1965, the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF, Taiwan’s air force) acquired its initial set of seven F-5As and two F-5Bs through the US Military Assistance Program.

By 1971, the ROCAF operated a fleet of 72 F-5As and 11 F-5Bs.

In 1972, the US temporarily took 48 ROCAF F-5As to support the Republic of Vietnam Air Force during the drawdown of US forces from Vietnam.

By 1973, many of these borrowed F-5As were no longer airworthy, leading the US to return 20 F-5As to Taiwan.

This return involved sourcing nine F-5As from US reserves and refurbishing 11 from South Vietnam.

Taiwan received an additional 28 new F-5Es by May 1975.

Starting in 1973, Taiwan’s AIDC commenced the domestic production of the first batch of 100 F-5Es, marking the beginning of the six Peace Tiger production series.

By the end of 1986, with the closure of the production line after the completion of Peace Tiger 6, AIDC had manufactured 242 F-5Es and 66 F-5Fs.

At one point, Taiwan was the largest operator of the type, with an inventory of 336 F-5E/Fs.

The final series of AIDC F-5E/Fs incorporated the F-20’s distinctive shark nose.

During the mid-to-late 1990s, with the addition of 150 F-16s, 60 Mirage 2000-5s, and 130 F-CK-1s, the F-5E/F series shifted to a secondary role in the ROCAF and were largely phased out as squadrons transitioned to the newly introduced fighters.

To replace the retiring Lockheed RF-104G’s reconnaissance duties in the ROCAF, seven low-hour F-5Es were sent to ST Aerospace for conversion to the RF-5E standard.

By 2009, approximately 40 ROCAF F-5E/Fs remained active for training purposes, with an additional 90–100 held in reserve.

Retired F-5E/F aircraft were either dismantled or repurposed as decoys, painted to mimic frontline fighters such as the F-16, Mirage 2000-5, or F-CK-1, and positioned around key airbases.

Taiwan attempted to upgrade its F-5E/F fleet through AIDC’s Tiger 2000/2001 program.

The inaugural flight occurred on July 24, 2002.

This program aimed to substitute the F-5E/F’s radar with the GD-53 radar from the F-CK-1 and to enable the aircraft to carry a single TC-2 BVRAAM on the centreline.

However, the program was ultimately discontinued due to a lack of interest from the ROCAF.

The sole prototype is exhibited at AIDC in Central Taiwan.


(F-5E Tiger II)



48 ft 2.25 in (14.6876 m)

26 ft 8 in (8.13 m)
27 ft 11.875 in (8.53123 m) with wing-tip missiles

13 ft 4.5 in (4.077 m)
Wing area

186 sq ft (17.3 m2)
Aspect ratio


NACA 65A004.8
Empty weight

9,583 lb (4,347 kg)
Gross weight

15,745 lb (7,142 kg) clean
Max take-off weight

24,675 lb (11,192 kg)
Fuel capacity
Internal fuel

677 US gal (564 imp gal; 2,560 L)
External fuel

Up to 3x 275 US gal (229 imp gal; 1,040 L) drop-tanks
Lift-to-drag ratio

Zero-lift drag coefficient

Frontal area

3.4 sq ft (0.32 m2)

2 × General Electric J85-GE-21 afterburning turbojet engines,

3,500 lbf (16 kN) thrust each dry,

5,000 lbf (22 kN) with afterburner

Maximum speed

Mach 1.63 (1,741 km/h; 1,082 mph) at 36,000 ft (11,000 m)
Maximum cruise speed

Mach 0.98 (1,050 km/h; 650 mph) at 36,000 ft (11,000 m)
Economical cruise speed

Mach 0.8 (850 km/h; 530 mph) at 36,000 ft (11,000 m)
Stall speed

124 kn (143 mph, 230 km/h) 50% internal fuel, flaps and wheels extended
Never exceed speed

710 kn (820 mph, 1,310 km/h) IAS

481 nmi (554 mi, 891 km) clean
Combat radius (20 min reserve)

120 nmi (140 mi; 220 km) with 2x Sidewinders + 5,200 lb (2,400 kg) ordnance,

With 5 minutes combat at max power at sea level
Ferry range

2,010 nmi (2,310 mi, 3,720 km) 
Ferry range (20 min reserve)

1,385 nmi (1,594 mi; 2,565 km) drop tanks retained
Ferry range (20 min reserve)

1,590 nmi (1,830 mi; 2,940 km) drop tanks jettisoned
Service ceiling

51,800 ft (15,800 m)
Service ceiling one engine out

41,000 ft (12,000 m)
Rate of climb

34,500 ft/min (175 m/s)

Wing loading

133 lb/sq ft (650 kg/m2) maximum

0.4 for take-off thrust at maximum take-off weight
Take-off run

2,000 ft (610 m) with two Sidewinders at 15,745 lb (7,142 kg)
Take-off run to 50 ft (15 m)

2,900 ft (884 m) with two Sidewinders at 15,745 lb (7,142 kg)
Landing run from 50 ft (15 m)

3,701 ft (1,128 m) without brake-chute
Landing run from 50 ft (15 m)

2,500 ft (762 m) with brake-chute

2× 20 mm (0.787 in) M39A2 Revolver cannon in the nose,

280 rounds/gun

7 total (only pylon stations 3, 4 and 5 are wet-plumbed):

2× wingtip AAM launch rails,

4× under-wing & 1× under-fuselage pylon stations with a capacity of 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg),

With provisions to carry combinations of
2× LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19× /7× Hydra 70 mm rockets, respectively);

2× LAU-5003 rocket pods (each with 19× CRV7 70 mm rockets); or
2× LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4× Zuni 127 mm rockets); or
2× Matra rocket pods (each with 18× SNEB 68 mm rockets)
2× AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile on wingtips (initial F-5E Tiger II loadout)
4× AIM-9 Sidewinder or 4× AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile (modernised F-5E)
4× AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles (on upgraded F-5 after 1995)

A variety of air-to-ground ordnances, such as the Mark 80 series of unguided bombs (including 3 kg and 14 kg practice bombs),

CBU-24/49/52/58 cluster bomb munitions,

Napalm bomb canisters, the M129 leaflet bomb, and laser-guided bombs of the Paveway family.
up to 3× 150 / 275 US gallons (570 / 1,040 L; 125 / 229 imp gal) Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering time.
Emerson Electric AN/APQ-153 radar on early batch of F-5E
Emerson Electric AN/APQ-159 radar on later production F-5E
Emerson Electric AN/APQ-157 radar on F-5F
Emerson Electric AN/APG-69 radar on US Navy F-5N (ex-Swiss Air Force F-5E) aggressors’ role
Leonardo Grifo-F radar on Singaporean Air Force upgraded F-5E


Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC)

Share on facebook