At the time of the launch of the F-5G in January 1980 a total of 17 customers for 1236 aircraft were identified. 'Core 1' customers were the four in the near-term with the largest requirement. 'Core 2' customers were those of lesser quantities or farther out. Those already operating F-5E's, some with coproduction in place that could be transitioned to the F-5G, are indicated by asterisks.
- Taiwan - 80 * This was the launch customer for the F-20. In January 1980 it was expected that a Letter of Agreement would be signed by the end of 1980. In fact, the Carter administration, preoccupied with a myriad of foreign crises and the upcoming election, deferred a decision to 1981. Carter lost the election, and Reagan became president. Following a year of political tug-of-war, Reagan vetoed the sale to Taiwan in January 1982. Secretly a program for General Dynamics to assist Taiwan in development of a an Indigenous Fighter Aircraft began in May 1982 as a replacement.
- Korea - 200 * Korea was seen as a longer-term customer, with the existing Korean F-5E production line transitioning to the F-5G. Korea remained the most important potential launch customer after Taiwan was blocked, even after further development of the F-20 was discontinued in November 1986. Ultimately revelation of a bribery scandal ended any chance for a Korean Tigershark in 1988. Korea selected the F-18 for its requirement, only to abandon that in 1991 and finally settle on the F-16C.
- Turkey - 100 * Turkey was looking for a large-scale aircraft coproduction program to develop their aviation industry under the auspices of the state-owned TUSAS firm.
- Egypt - 80
- Thailand - 18 *
- Singapore - 24 *
- Indonesia - 16 *
- Malaysia - 16
- Spain - 72 *
- Pakistan - 124
- Switzerland - 50 *
- Greece - 100 *
- Netherlands - 110 *
- Norway - 50 *
- Austria - 24
- Nigeria - 24
- Jordan - 48 *
By near the end of the F-20 program in July 1986 ITAR clearance had been requested for the following additional countries that expressed interest in the aircraft:
- New Zealand
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© Mark Wade, 1997 - 2006 except where otherwise noted.
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