The Northrop F-5 tactical fighter was designed as an extremely maneuverable, supersonic fighter with a high rate of reliability at a low operating cost. The F-5 first flew on July 30, 1959 with the first customer delivery in 1964. The last of more than 2,600 F-5’s was produced in 1989 and about two-thirds of these are still in service with 26 countries more than 4 decades later. The F-5 was manufactured by Northrop Grumman and under license in Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.
The Swiss Patrouille Aerobatic Team was officially formed in August 1964 equipped with the Hawker Hunter and carried out regular operations when not practicing or performing. In 1994 the team traded their Hunters for the F-5E Tiger II which they began to use in 1995. The F-5E is a much more maneuverable aircraft and probably will be in service with the team well into the 2020’s. The team is based at Emmen and in 1996 smoke generators were added to make the maneuvers more visible during their approximate 18 minute displays.