Hobby Master 1/72 Air Power Series HA3324: Northrop F-5F Tiger II 761586, “25th Anniversary VMFT-401 “Snipers” MCAS Yuma, Arizona, Aug 2011. Production of only 400 pieces.
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401 “Snipers”) was activated in March 1986 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona and is the USMC’s only adversary squadron. The USN acquired low hour F-5E/F’s from Switzerland with the USMC obtaining three of these aircraft. They combined the tail and cockpit forward of their own F-5F with the wings and fuselage of the Swiss F-5E’s creating a “Franken- Tiger”. Aircraft 761586 was the first of three to be created. In 2011 762586 was given a paint scheme to mark the 25th Anniversary of VFMT-401.
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.