1/72 Northrop RF-5E Tigereye

by Philip Koh


  Singapore National Day 2004 


Hi there, this is my first model in over 10-years since I made the 1/48th Italeri F-117.

Anyway, I agreed to build the RF-5E Tigereye as part of a group build and that was an opportunity for me to jump back into the hobby. The model is a kit-bash consisting of the recce nose from the Airfix RF-5E, main fuselage with extended LERX from the Italeri Swiss F-5E Tiger, and refueling-probe from the Italeri ESCI re-boxed F-5A. The kit was otherwise OOB except for the decals with came from the Aztec Freedom Fighter sheet.

Most of you would notice it’s not very well built….especially with the puttying for the recce nose-to-fuselage joint which drove me nuts, but I had to get to into this hobby after years of procrastination and self-denial. I wanted to depict the aircraft in a “what-if” configuration, so I used the LANTIRN pod from the Hasegawa weapon set to depict the Rafael Reccelite pod on the centerline. For self-defense, there’s the rudimentary AIM-9S Sidewinders.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) had eight single-seat F-5Es converted to RF-5E Tigereye reconnaissance configuration. Conversion was carried out with Northrop-Grumman acting as consultant, which includes a navigation and weapon delivery system (NWDS), Litton LN-93 RLG-INS, GEC Avionics Atlantic FLIR pods and RS-700 IR linescanners, plus the Elisra SPS-2000 series RWR. Two General Electric J85-GE-21A afterburning turbojet engines each rated at 22.24 kN (5,000 lb st). There are rumours that the RSAF has also adopted the Python-4 with the Display And Sighting Helmet (DASH) but well….nobody is confirming or denying it….



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Photos and text © by Philip Koh