Navy’s F-5 modernization program completes engineering phase and moves into production and deployment
The Navy’s Specialized and Proven Aircraft program office (PMA-226) F-5N+/F+ Avionics Reconfiguration and Tactical Enhancement/Modernization for Inventory Standardization (ARTEMIS) program successfully reached Milestone C decision June 28, effectively moving into production and deployment.
To meet the Navy and Marine Corps requirement to increase fleet adversary training capacity with high-altitude tactical fighters, the PMA-226 Adversary Team is inducting 22 repatriated, former Swiss Air Force F-5E/F aircraft into the ARTEMIS modification program. This program will reconfigure the airframe and incorporate a block upgrade consisting of emerging and existing commercial technology while capitalizing on industry’s private investment and lessons learned to upgrade necessary safety and capability features on the aircraft.
The program office will reconfigure the airframes and convert the F-5E/F engines to the Navy and Marine Corps standard F-5N/F. Once that is complete, the program will integrate the block upgrade, which consists of a new glass cockpit and avionics suite that uses technology found in more modern aircraft to improve safety and capability. Subsequent to this upgrade, the 22 aircraft will be in the F-5N+/F+ baseline configuration.
The Adversary Team and industry partner Tactical Air Support, Inc. (Tactical Air Support) will execute the F-5N+/F+ ARTEMIS program. Tactical Air Support owns and operates F-5AT aircraft currently supporting PMA-226 tactical fighter training and has performed similar modernization and safety upgrades on its own fleet of aircraft. Tactical Air Support assisted in the validation of the block upgrade F-5N+/F+ configuration on two of the prototype Navy F-5Ns completed earlier this year.
Capt. Gregory Sutton, PMA-226 program manager said, “This program will provide a fleet of upgraded, safe and modernized adversary aircraft, providing the realistic and relevant tactical training that our aviators need to win in the fight.”
To improve and enhance aircraft safety and mission effectiveness and to meet existing and emerging requirements and obsolescence issues, the ARTEMIS program integrates fully digitized avionics instrumentation and provides increased safety and capability upgrades. These upgrades will also add tactical capabilities designed to improve air-to-air training.
“PMA-226’s Adversary Team drove to a successful milestone decision by challenging norms to tailor the program requirements using a blend of commercial solutions and the lessons learned by our industry partners with a focus on desired outcomes and risk mitigation,” said Boyd Forsythe, PMA-226 F-5 Adversary Team lead.
Given the significant use of commercial-off-the-shelf components with well-defined maintenance and support equipment requirements that are used for the F-5N+/F+ configured aircraft, the product support strategy will be to execute Navy and Marine Corps maintenance procedures at the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance facility, with fleet support teams within close proximity to the OEM facility to assist. The program’s preventive maintenance will consist of inspections, cleaning and scheduled maintenance tasks.
PMA-226 is responsible for life cycle cradle to grave management of several legacy and out of inventory aircraft and engines, assigned by Naval Air Systems Command and contracted air services. Assigned platforms and services include: Adversary Aircraft (F-5, F-16); Contracted Aircraft Services; U.S. Naval Test Pilot School / Naval Postgraduate School T-38, H-72, X-26, U-6, NU-1B, O-2, OH-58C; and Out of Active Navy Inventory aircraft T-2, H-2, H-3, A-4, in support of the Naval Aviation Enterprise and our international partners.