The Navy improves the opponent’s tactical fighter by improving safety and readiness

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NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, RIVIÈRE PATUXENT, Md– The Navy’s Specialized and Proven Aircraft Program Office (PMA-226) recently delivered the first F-5N aircraft to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., To begin ground and flight tests for the project. F-5 block upgrade prototype. Aligned with the Navy’s strategic imperative to increase capabilities and improve lethality, the newly redesigned tactical fighters will include features found on modern aircraft that improve both safety and readiness.

The Navy delivered the first F-5N aircraft to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., To begin ground and flight testing of the F-5 Block Upgrade Prototype Project. The results of these tests will provide data that will be used as a major component in the conversion of the 16 F-5Es and six F-5Fs that the Navy recently acquired from the Swiss Air Force. (U.S. Navy photo)

The F-5 aircraft, which for many years operated as a high-altitude, high-speed tactical fighter used by the Navy and Marine Corps as an opposing aggressor, lacks modern security systems, common avionics and tactical capabilities found in modern aircraft. This F-5N aircraft is one of three F-5Ns that will be used as prototypes of the modernized cockpit, avionics and support aircraft architecture. These upgrades improve security, capacity, and reliability, while addressing growing obsolescence issues.

Upon successful completion of the tests, the program office will use these upgrades as a major component in the conversion of the 16 F-5Es and six F-5Fs that the Navy recently acquired from the Swiss Air Force. . The program office will convert these 22 aircraft as part of the Avionics Reconfiguration and Tactical Improvement / Modernization for Inventory Standardization (ARTEMIS) program. PMA-226 successfully completed the independent logistics assessment of the ARTEMIS program in June and expects to reach a Milestone C decision early in fiscal 2022.

“A constructive collaboration with our partners, the fleet and the PMA-226 team allowed the success of the mission despite the technical, scheduling and management challenges related to the integration of 21stcentury in a 1970s cell during the pandemic, ”said Boyd Forsythe, leader of the opposing PMA-226 team.

F-5 aircraft receiving the Bulk Upgrade Prototype changes will be designated F-5N + / F +. The potential risk of losing a pilot and / or aircraft will be reduced by adding the necessary instrumentation that provides air-to-ground warnings, weather protection and fuel level warnings. This upgrade will also add tactical capabilities designed to enhance the air-to-air training of “friendly” forces.

Given the extensive use of off-the-shelf commercial components with well-defined maintenance and support equipment requirements for the prototype aircraft configured for bulk upgrade, the product support strategy will be at organizational level (O level) up to the original equipment manufacturer. Block upgrade level O preventive maintenance will include inspections, cleaning tasks and scheduled maintenance. In addition, level O maintainers will load the system software using currently available portable electronic maintenance aids.

“This program will provide modernized aircraft with exceptional avionics and tactics capabilities that are necessary to enable pilots to practice tactics and techniques used against a close-to-peer threat. Implementing these improvements will ensure realistic and relevant tactical training pilots need to win in combat, ”said Captain Ramiro Flores, PMA-226 program manager.

The PMA-226 is responsible for the cradle-to-grave life cycle management of several legacy and out-of-stock aircraft and engines assigned by Naval Air Systems Command and contract air services. Assigned platforms and services include: adversary aircraft (F-5, F-16); Aircraft services under contract; US Naval Test Flight School / Naval Graduate School T-38, H-72, X-26, U-6, NU-1B, O-2, OH-58C; and T-2, H-2, H-3, A-4 aircraft outside the Active Navy inventory, in support of the Naval Aviation Enterprise and our international partners.



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