MILAVIA > Specials > VFC-13 Last updated: 8 April 2013
MILAVIA Military Aviation Specials

Squadron Special : VFC-13

VFC-13 Fighting Saints


The Fighting Saints of the Fighter Squadron Composite 13 (VFC-13) provide adversary training for the US Navy fleet and regular squadrons, but also for the USMC, USAF and Canadian forces. To carry out its adversary mission the squadrons operates a fleet of 24 F-5E/F Tigers. Soon the aging aircraft will be replaced by low-houred F-5E/F acquired from the Swiss Air Force surplus. Since technology has been well improved since the F-5E/F, also the possible threats have become more advanced. For this reason the US Navy is already operating the F/A-18 in the aggressor role in other squadrons. Most likely the F-5E/Fs of VFC-13 will eventually also be replaced by the Hornet.

VFC-13 is no exception when it comes to non-standard camouflage schemes for aggressor aircraft. The squadron's F-5s wear a variety of colour schemes to represent a foreign adversary. The grey two-tone and the desert camouflage are the most common, but there are also aircraft spotting a lizard or all blue camouflage.


The Fighting Saints of VFC-13 can trace their origins back to 1946, when VF-753 was commissioned flying F6F-5 Hellcats. Today's squadron was formed on 1 September 1973 as VC-13, at NAS New Orleans during the reorganization of the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Initially, the squadron operated the Chance Vought F-8H Crusader. In April 1974, the Saints made the transition to the single-seat A-4L Skyhawk.

As the demand for west coast adversary services and other fleet support missions increased, the squadron was permanently transferred to NAS Miramar, arriving there in February 1976. That summer, a transition was made from the A-4L to the more reliable two-seat TA-4J. The year 1983 marked the return of the single seat aircraft to VC-13 and the arrival of the A-4E.

The Fighting Saints provide a formidable dissimilar adversary threat. In recognition of that primary mission assignment, VC-13 was proudly redesignated as Fighter Squadron Composite 13 (VFC-13) April 22, 1988.

October 1993 marked the end of an era when VFC-13 made the transition to the single-seat, two engine F/A-18 Hornet. This change further enhanced the squadron's ability to perform its adversary mission by providing an even more capable and realistic threat aircraft. However in April 1996, the command relocated to NAS Fallon and made the transition to the F-5E/F Tiger II, supported by McDonnell Douglas contract maintenance.

Aircraft 2004

Serial Type CodeColour
72-1387 F-5E 00 Grey Lizard
73-0865 F-5E 01 Blue Lizard
73-0879 F-5E 02 Tan/Sand
74-1530 F-5E 03 Brown/Cream
74-1536 F-5E 04 Grey Lizard
74-1539 F-5E 05 Blue/Blue
74-1544 F-5E 06 Grey Lizard
74-1545 F-5E 07 Grey/Grey/Grey
74-1547 F-5E 10 Blue Tiger
74-1554 F-5E 11 Grey/Grey
74-1556 F-5E 12 Grey/Grey
74-1558 F-5E 13 Brown/Sand
74-1564 F-5E 14 Grey/Grey
74-1568 F-5E 15 Blue/Grey/Grey
159880 F-5E 20 Grey/Grey
160792 F-5E 21 Dark Grey/Grey
160794 F-5E 22 Grey/Grey
160795 F-5E 23 Brown/Sand Tiger
160796 F-5E 24 Grey/Grey
162307 F-5E 25 Grey/Grey
84-0456 F-5F 30 Blue/Grey/Grey
160965 F-5F 31 Grey/Grey
160966 F-5F 32 Grey/Grey

Sources & Resources

Pictures by Gerry Clarke

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vfc-13_10.jpg vfc-13_11.jpg
vfc-13_12.jpg vfc-13_14.jpg
vfc-13_16.jpg vfc-13_17.jpg

All photos by Gerry Clarke, click here for his gallery at

First Published: 23 September 2004
Last Modified: 8 April 2013

Update log:
8 Apr 2013 Removed/fixed broken links
8 Apr 2013 Upgraded layout