måndag 26 april 2010

F-20 Tigershark

F-20 Tigershark

Operator: Swedish Air Force (Fictional)
Display Aircraft assigned to F7 Såtenäs.

The purchase of the F-20 Tigershark in the Swedish Air Force is by far the most controversial defence decision ever made regarding the purchasing of new equipment. As the discussions of the Saab 39 Project went on in the Swedish Parlament, Northrop whos F-20 program was in shambles desperatly decided to offer the Swedish Air Force the F-20 - three times as many Aircraft as they would recive JAS. Knowing full well that after Reagans executive orders, the F-16 and F-18 would soon be avalibe, the Swedish Air Force opted for theese as alternative if Saab Aircraft was not to be bought.

The Goverment decided to buy the F-20S (A total number of 250 Aircraft) with several high ranking Air Force officers resigning over the issue. Finally, it was decided that Saab would be hired to upgrade all current JA-37 and AJ-37 into a new, upgraded A-37 standard. With the F-20 filling the Fighter role, the A-37 would be filling the Attack role. However, the F-20 was not granted the J-39 designation by the Air Force who retained the F-20s name and Nickname.

In a tv-program after the first Aircraft had been delivered, Defence Minister Roine Carlsson was qouted saying "If I wanted a Aircraft from the sixthies with BVR Capacity, id upgrade the J-35".

Troughtout its Career, the F-20 suffered from poor public relations and plans for a Display Team was put together. In the end, only one Aircraft was refitted for that purpose and it was based at F-7 Såtenäs. During the Stockholm Water Festival, it was praised for flying under the West Bridge, but otherwise, it met a lukewarm welcome.

In 1991, Moderaterna laid a proposal to assign futher money to Saab and the Air Force for the JAS-39 project - a proposal that passed with only the Left Party voting against it. Ian Wachtmeister of the Swedish Populistic Party New Democrats went out in media calling for the destruction of the Display Aircraft, calling the paining of a Swedish flag on a foreign product a "Unholy abomination".

As the first JAS 39 Fighters arrived in 2001, the F-20 was slowly beeing replaced with 150 Fighers sold to Austria. To this day, the remaining F-20 fleet retains training and Second Line figher duties with the display Aircraft still in service.

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