F-5 fighter jet Cold War relic

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Critics within the military fraternity have compared buying the F5 aircraft today to buying the classics, Cressida or Peugeot and expecting them to compete with top of range BMWs or Subarus. Mmegi staffer, LAWRENCE SERETSE explores the death of the nation’s 26-year-old top fighter jet

The ‘Freedom Fighter’, it was called during its prime features in Tony Scott’s famous flick, Top Gun that reminiscently had a number of F-5Es and F-5Fs in latex wash-off paint as the fictional MiG-28s battling against the US Navy F-14 Tomcats. Ever since then, military engineers would tell you that the stage has dramatically changed and the latest technology has been depicted as Fifth Generation technology.

Which is why the F-5 has now been described as an aged Cold War relic that many nations including the Greeks, Taiwanese, Norwegians, Saudis, Koreans, Swiss, Dutch, Canadians, Pakistanis, Singaporeans, Spanish, Filipinos and even our neighbours have either fully disposed of or are in the process of doing so. From its inception in 1977, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) successfully completed its Air Wing in 1995.   Today it prides itself in a fleet of 14, F-5A fighter jets and F-5D trainers it bought from Canada in 1996.

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