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Tougher Tiger

Photo: The first fully-upgraded RTAF F-5ST is rolled out. Elbit Systems

 

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), Thai Aviation Industries (TAI) and Elbit Systems have rolled out the first of 14 upgraded Northrop Grumman F-5ST Super Tigers. The first upgraded aircraft is a two-seat F-5F (serial 21105).

The upgrade program dates back to 2014 when the RTAF launched the two-phase project; comprised of a batch of 10 aircraft to an interim standard, plus a batch of four follow-on fighters plus radar upgrades for all 14.

The so-called ‘Super Tigris’ upgrade adds the Litening III targeting pod, Rafael Python V and Derby missiles, capability with the Sky Shield jamming pod, Link-16, Have Quick II radios, a Digital Video and Data Recorder, new mission computer, upgraded environmental control system, new head-up display, colour multi-function displays, new countermeasure systems, and the Elta Sytems ELM-2032 radar. In addition the service life is pushed out to 9,600 flight hours.

Elbit’s involvement was contracted under an $85 million deal for the first 10 jets. In August 2017, the Thai government confirmed a $93 million follow-on contract to take all 14 jets to full Super Tigris standard including the new radar.

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