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In the last years of the Vietnam war the north vietnamese used the east german FWD KF-69 Sperber in the role as light fighter bomber. The plane, which based on the british Gnat, proofed as a reliable and good weapon plattform.
East german technicians repaired battle damaged planes in Vietnam and east german instructor pilots not only trained vietnamese pilots on the Sperber, but also flew combat missions side by side with their vietnamese comrades.
The war was won in May 1975. Two month later captured F-5E Tiger II were taken over in the Vietnamese Air Force. Techicians from Dresden Aircraft Factory FWD supported this introduction. East german pilots got the chance to fly the Tiger and after it praised this plane in highest tones. They found out, that the F-5E was far superior to the MiG-21MF.
So the idea was born to reengenier the Tiger and to built a copy in Dresden. The project got the name Bussard (Buzzard). Vietnam was not willing to sell a flightworthy F-5E to the GDR, but agreed to sell a written off Tiger II. East german pilots were allowed to perform an intensive flight test program in Vietnam.
In end 1975 the written off F-5E arrived in Dresden, was demontaged and all part came under an exact inspection. Then new drawing were made and the data transformed from imperial to metric system.
From begin it was obviesly, that the GDR industry would be unable to copy the J85 engines of the Tiger. Engines of this size and power were not available in Warsaw Pact countries. So it was decided to implement the indegenius developed engine Pirna024. The Pirna024 based on the Pirna014, which was originally intended for the first continental european Jet passenger plane Baade 152. And the 014 was a child of the Jumo007.
So it was decided that the tail section of the plane must newly designed. The original two engines were replaced by a single Pirna024. Because the 024 needed a bigger air flow, the air intakes were enlarged. To avoid problems with the aerodynamics the strakes of the plane got an other form and became bigger.
The cockpit design was completly changed and were made close to the MiG-21 cockpit, to make it easier for pilots to change from one to the other type. The radar system was a problem. To make a copy of the american radar needed to much time. So it was decided to use the RP-21SMA of the MiG-21 instead. This was not satisfying, but the scientists of Robotron company found a way to replace the vacuum tubes of the RP-21 with modern transistor technology. The weight of the radar system was significantly reduced and the needed energy to operate it was drastically lower. On the other hand the now Robotron FMV-79 (Funkmessvisier-79) called radar had a much bigger range. In search mode it was able to detect targets in bomber size at a range of 45 km. The original RP-21 had had only a range of 20 km.
The first prototype was ready for take off  in spring 1977. The maiden flight showed that the reengeniered F-5E was a good plane and easy to handle plane. It was demanded to finish the flight tests till end 1978. The order came, that the new plane should be introduced in the LSK in 1979 and should be presented in squadron strenght at the air parade of the 30th jubilee of the GDR.
Thatswhy the plane got the official designation Kampfflugzeug-79 Bussard or short KF-79.
4 prototypes were built and the flight tests went very well. The east german intellegency service HVA was able to infiltrate the american Northrop company and copied important drawings, calculation and the entire technology of the production process.
In January 1979 the first KF-79 was handed over to the LSK and a first squadron started to transist from MiG-21 to the Bussard. In october 1979 already 20 planes were delivered and made a low pass over Berline during the jubilee parade on Oct.7th..
In summer 1980 the Bussard gave the "combat" debut during the WP major size combat exercise "Waffenbrüderschaft 80" (Brothers in arms 80). Here the Bussard played the role as enemy and proofed superior to the MiG-21 and early MiG-23. The superb combat results caused increased intresse of some WP countries. The CSSR was the first export consumer. They got 12 planes from Dresden and built some 40 in license. Poland originally wanted to build the Bussard as Jantar in license too, but the turmoil of the Solidarnosce movement caused a canceling of that project. Hungary and Bulgaria tested the Bussard but decided to buy soviet MiG-21bis. It was said, that soviet pressure was the reason for this decision. Cuba and Vietnam got the plane in early 80th in significant numbers and Syria bought 100 planes after the defeat of the soviet made planes over the Bekaa valley in 1982. And they were really satisfied with it, so that the plane was used till the end of the millenium.
The plane was built till 1988. A further development with twin engines and twin tails should and modern avionics was intended to made the maiden flight in 1990. But the political change caused the end of this development.

The Bundesluftwaffe tested the KF-79 and the planes was said to be superior to the F-4F and sent to the NATO fighter town Decci at Sardinia it won a lot of dogfights against dutch NF-5A, greek, turkish and spanish F-5. Against the modern generation planes like F-16 and 18 it had only a minor chance. It was also not able to fight down the MiG-29. Thatswhy the Luftwaffe phased out all KF-79 in 1991.





Thanks to Veltro2k for the nice F-20 lod, which i used to create the FWD KF-79.

Edited by Gepard
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