04 Januari 2016
RTAF operates 27 F-5 Tiger II consist of 16 F-5T and 11 F-5E/F (photo : natee sukjaroen, pantip)
During the month of December 2015 it is reported the procurement in the Air Force, Army and Navy. In the Royal Thai Air Force included the progress of the project to improve the capability of F-5E/F Tiger II (designatin B.Kh18) of the 211 Squadron (Eagle), 21st Wing.
Is based on the image above which published in mid-December 2015, that the F-5F with tail number 21104 from 211 Squadron 21st Wing has head look longer. The analysis that may have been installed new radar.
The shark nose of F-5E/F fighter aircraft which stationed in Royal Thai Air Force since 1981 or 35 years ago was upgraded up to three times.
First Capability Upgrade (1998)
In 1988, installed the display front and range weapons with HUD/WAC (Head-Up Display/Weapon Aiming Computer) from GEC Marconi, decoy system AN/ALE-40 and warning detection system AN/ALR-46 RWR (Radar Warning Receiver).
With the capability to use Israeli air-to-air guided missile Rafael Python-3, and the gun pod GPU-5 size 30mm, F-5E/F still stationed at the 403 Squadron 4th Air Division and then moved to 211 Squadron 21st Wing on the year 1994.
Second Capability Upgrade (2002)
In 2002, Israeli company Elbit improved the fighter aircraft F-5T Tigris and F-5E/F stationed in 211 Squadron 21st Wing, by turn of the cockpit mounted display with MFD (Multi-Function Display) pilot helmet mounted display, weapon sights DASH (Display And Sight Helmet) and joystick HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick).
Weapon system capability to use air-to-air guided missile Python-4, however improvement of fighter aircraft F-5E/F, do not even have to change radar model AN/APQ-159 with such as the AN/APG-69 that was originally planned.
Third Capability Upgrade (2015)
In 2015, which was the last time. Although the Air Force document identified improvement projects F-5E/F 10 of these limit 2,050 million baht would identify only structural upgrade and avionic system.
Python-5 is powered by a solid propellant rocket engine, provides a speed of Mach 4 and an operational range of more than 20km. Derby is a BVR medium range, basically an enlarged Python-4 with an active-radar seeker with range about 50km (photo : Miltechmag)
From the multiple data sources stated that the Israeli company Elbit is the project contractor. There is a possibility that the F-5E/F 211 Squadron has been updated to install with an Israeli Elta EL/M-2032 radar including avionic systems and new weapons such as new generation air-to-air missile Python-5 and Derby also DASH IV pilot helmets, which makes the F-5E/F's capacity in aerial combat outside visual range (BVR : Beyond Visual Range) for the first time.
This improvement of this F-5E/F would be the last because of the limited lifetime structural parts of machines and production lines. It makes life Squadron F-5E/F Royal Thai Air Force on average by almost 45-50 years, may extend the wait time up to 2026-2031.