Northrop F-5 & T-38
Designed from the start as a low-weight, low-cost fighter the Northrop F-5 became an export success. It is also a very recognisable fighter aircraft. Typical is the shape of the fuselage: when viewed from the side the bottom is nearly flat, while the top is curved from the nose over the canopy to the exhausts. At the back, the canopy is flush with the top of the fuselage. The wings are thin and flush with the bottom of the fuselage. The air intakes have about a D shape and are below the canopy. Another key feature is the trapezium vertical stabiliser with forward swept trailing edge. Finally, the two side-by-side external exhaust pipes at the very end complete the appearance of the F-5.
The two seat version of the F-5 was developed into the dedicated T-38 supersonic trainer.
How to recognise the different versions of the Northrop F-5 and T-38 will be added later.
Confusion possible with
Northrop F-20 Tigershark
The F-20 is a single engine derivative of the F-5 (originally designated F-5G). That is a main difference between the two, apart from smaller ones. (photo USAF/WikiMedia)
Another deveopment of the F-5, from Iran. On the Saeqeh the vertical stabilisers have doubled, but for the rest it still looks like an F-5. (photo Dara Zarbaf/WikiMedia)