The United States Marine Corps has taken a significant leap forward in sharpening its air combat training edge with the arrival of the first F-5 Tiger fighter jet at Cecil Field Naval Air Station.

Delivered in late March by a KC-130J transport aircraft, as reported by NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) last Thursday, April 4, the aircraft’s arrival marks the initial step in integrating these former Swiss Air Force jets into the Corps’ aggressor fleet.

The F-5 will now undergo the second phase of a comprehensive modernization program designed to transform it into a cutting-edge training adversary.

Bolstering Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT)

The arrival of the F-5 Tiger signifies a pivotal moment for the Marine Corps Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) program.

Dissimilar air combat training pits Marine pilots against aircraft that mimic the capabilities and tactics of potential adversaries.

On How DACT Works: The DACT trains pilots in a controlled environment by exposing them to realistic combat scenarios against dissimilar aircraft. It hones their decision-making skills, situational awareness, and combat reflexes, ensuring they are fully prepared for any situation.

Swiss F-5
Swiss F-5 Tiger II aircraft arrived at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida. (Image source: NAVAIR)

The F-5 Tiger: A Proven Performer Gets a Modern Makeover

The Marine Corps acquired a total of 22 F-5 Tigers in 2020.

This batch includes a mix of single-seat F-5E and double-seat F-5F variants, offering flexibility for both solo and tandem training missions.