US Marine Corps begins ‘comprehensive’ refurbishment of retired fighter jets

US Marine Corps begins ‘comprehensive’ refurbishment of retired fighter jets

The Marine Corps recently received the first of 22 retired F-5 Tiger fighters purchased from the Swiss Air Force for training purposes.

What military news agency Special Operations Forces Report (SOFREP) calls a “comprehensive modernization program aimed at transforming them into a state-of-the-art training adversary” will eventually apply to the entire jet fleet. It turns out.

The Northrop F-5 is a supersonic light fighter developed during the Cold War, but production ended in 1989. The Marines purchased 22 of his aircraft from Switzerland in 2020 to pretend to be enemy aircraft in air combat simulations.

More specifically, the F-5 will participate in the Marine Corps’ Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) program, which, according to SOFREP, will be a “controlled and “We will train pilots in a safe environment.”

F-5 Tiger jet plane lands
A Swiss F-5 Tiger fighter jet lands in Emmen, Netherlands, on October 28, 2008. The U.S. Marine Corps recently received the first of 22 F-5s purchased from Switzerland for use in training programs.

Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

Naval Air Systems Command announced last week that it received its first F-5 at Naval Air Station Cecil Field in Florida in late March. NAVAIR called the aircraft’s arrival “a milestone that is the culmination of months of engineering and maintenance efforts.”

Col. Greg Sutton, program manager for NAVAIR’s Specialized and Proven Aircraft Program Office, spoke about the critical role the Marine Corps expects the aircraft to play.

“The expansion of the F-5 program ensures future success in Navy and Marine Corps aviator training,” Sutton said in a statement.

SOFREP said the fighter jet will next undergo a “complete rejuvenation” through the U.S. military’s avionics reconfiguration and tactical modernization program for inventory standardization. The ARTEMIS process will see a complete overhaul of the Tigers’ frames and turbojet engines, improving the jet’s performance capabilities.

“Additionally, the program includes significant upgrades: the integration of modern avionics and a new glass cockpit,” SOFREP wrote.

According to SOFREP, this “advanced” technology not only improves situational awareness for Marines in the cockpit, but also “improves control of the modernized F-5 during training.”

The first F-5 is expected to be ready for training operations in early 2025 after completing the ARTEMIS program. Eleven of the F-5s will be used in the DACT program, while the rest could be used as spare parts to keep the Tiger training fleet operational.

Sofrep said the arrival of the first F-5 Tiger “marks a new chapter in the U.S. Marine Corps’ commitment to providing pilots with the most realistic and challenging training environment possible. “By joining our ranks, the U.S. Marine Corps’ invasion fleet will be more poised.” Delivering an unparalleled DACT experience for years to come. ”