Cover: A Case Study of the F-20 Tigershark

A Case Study of the F-20 Tigershark

Published 1987

by Thomas Martin, Rachel Schmidt


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback33 pages $20.00

In December 1986, the Northrop Corporation terminated its F-20 Tigershark fighter aircraft program without having sold a single F-20. The program had been in existence for over ten years and had cost over $1.2 billion. The F-20 program was unique because it was privately funded — i.e., Northrop and its subcontractors covered all of the costs. This paper examines the F-20 program from both a research-and-development (R&D) and a marketing perspective. It presents the reasons the F-20 was built and shows how the F-20 program drew on a Northrop philosophy of what an export fighter should be. It examines Northrop's reasons for regarding the F-20 effort as successful. Finally, it examines the Northrop F-20 R&D and acquisition story in light of several prescriptions developed by RAND research.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.