Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Canadair CF-116 CF-5

In July 1965, the Canadian government selected the F-5 lightweight fighter as the new tactical fighter in the midst of a great degree of disdain. The F-5 had been designed as a cheap, throw away fighter for developing countries with limited technical expertise. For a country like Canada with a sophisticated aerospace industry, the aircraft selection was seen as a step backward. A substantial number of Canadian unique modifications were added to make the aircraft suitable and the aircraft was subsequently also adopted by the Dutch and Norwegian Air Forces with further modifications.

The Canadian Forces took delivery of the CF-5 between November 5, 1968 and September 21, 1971. Total Canadair production for the Canadian Forces was 89 CF-5A single seat aircraft and 46 CF-5D dual seat aircraft. The Canadair F-5 was considered more advanced than earlier F-5A/B with the addition of a two-position nose gear, used to in increase the angle of attack and shorten the take-off run by almost 20%, and the uprated, Orenda built, J85-15 engine rated at 4,300 lbs thrust compared with 4,000 lbs thrust on the original model. Two other features unique to the CF-5 was an interchangeable reconnaissance nose with four Vinten cameras and the starboard side mounted refueling probe.

The Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) at CFB Uplands received its first CF-5 on December 19, 1968, with No. 434 (OT) Operational Training Squadron receiving its CF-5s on November 5, 1968. No. 433e Squadron was formed at CFB Bagotville on August 25, 1969 and was the only other operational CF-5 squadron. The Canadian Forces had originally intended to from 3 operational squadrons and one OTU but do to budgetary restrictions more the half of the CF-5s went directly from the manufacturer straight into storage at either CFB North Bay or CFB Trenton. Some surplus CF-5s were later sold to Venezuela. No. 434 Squadron was to pass the training role on to No. 419 Squadron which was redesignated from No. 1 FTS on May 2, 1975. The CF-5s of No. 434 and 433 squadrons were tasked with the role of deploying to Norway in the event of hostilities and regularly deployed there using air-to-air refueling. No. 434 Squadron joined No. 433 at CFB Bagotville for a short time before moving on to CFB Chatham in July 1985 were it remained until stood down on June 1, 1988. No. 433e Squadron converted to the CF-18 Hornet in early 1988. No. 419 Squadron was based a CFB Cold Lake providing advanced jet training, dissimilar air combat training, and as a lead-in fighter trainer for the CF-18 only to be retired after further extensive overhaul and avionics modification programs.

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg: CF-116
US/NATO Reg.: F-5A/D
Manufacturer: License built by Canadair from Northrop
Crew / Passengers: 1 or 2 pilots in ejection seats
Power Plant(s): Two Orenda J-85-Can-15 Turbojets 2,925 lbs thrust (mil) 4,300 lbs thrust (A/B)
Performance: Max Speed: 650 kts ( 1,204 km/h) Cruising Speed: 450 kts ( 834 km/h) Service Ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,496 m) Range: 195 m (314 km)
Weights: Empty: 8,681 lbs (3,938 kg) Max T/O: 20,390 lbs (9,249 kg)
Dimensions: Span: 25 ft 10 in ( 7.87 m) Length: 47 ft 2 in ( 14.38 m) Height 13 ft 2 in ( 4.01 m)
Armament: Two 20 mm cannon & provisions for tanks, bombs, rockets (unguided), or missiles
CF-116 CF-5D Advanced Trainer

Canadair CF-5, No. 434 Bluenose Squadron

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