F-5E fighter aircraft

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of F-5E/F fighter aircraft’s avionics upgrades and associated equipment to Tunisia.

Under the estimated $60m sale, Tunisia has requested for provision of Block 1 avionics upgrades on the Tunisian Air Force’s (TAF) 12 Northrop Grumman-built F-5 supersonic fighter aircraft fleet.

The upgrade package primarily includes 12 LN-260 standard positioning system embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation systems (GPS/INS), control display unit, electrical power, and environmental control system.

In addition, the FMS features repairs, material condition inspection, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, technical and logistics support services, as well as other related elements of logistical and programme support.

As well as enhancing Tunisia’s capability to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defence, and support counter-terrorism operations, the sale is also expected to augment the country’s ability to continue supporting its air and ground forces during counter-terrorism and border security missions.

"The potential sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US."

The potential sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping enhance the security of a friendly country in North Africa.

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Northrop Grumman will serve as prime contractor for the FMS programme.

Powered by two General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines, the F-5 is a single-seat, supersonic fighter aircraft designed to conduct air-to-ground and air-to-air operations.

Tunisia currently operates 16 F-5 aircraft, of which eight F-5E and four F-5F Tiger II were received between 1984 and 1985, while an additional batch of five ex-US Air Force (USAF) F-5E arrived in 1989.

As well as Tunisia, the aircraft are also in use with the air forces of Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Taiwan, Ethiopia, Greece, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand, and the US.

Image: Tunisia received five second hand USAF F-5E aircraft in 1989. Photo: courtesy of Stahlkocher.

Defence Technology