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Increased fuel would be necessary to meet the Korean's insistence that the F-20 match the F-16's range performance in their standard mission. Every nook and cranny of the small, tightly packed airframe was examined for places fuel could be stashed. The thin wings, which already accommodated the landing gear, provided no space for fuel tanks. A 'wet' vertical stabilizer - cramming fuel into the fin - was considered, but the small amount that could be fitted there was not worth the extra weight, complexity, and center of gravity problems. Finally the only solution was to replace the F-5E bladder tanks of the fuselage with integral fuel tanks, and to carry larger external tanks. This allowed internal fuel to be increased from 4400 gallons to 5050 gallons. Performance of the aircraft, despite the extra fuel, would be maintained by a further increase in the thrust of the F404 engine from 17,000 lbs to 18,000 lbs. The change also meant the interior bays of the fuselage would have to be sealed fuel tight. This was achievable, but at what cost in production complexity and maintainability problems? Nevertheless the change went ahead, putting the F-20 yet higher on the cost/performance curve that could lead to asymptotic increases in production and support costs.

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