The F-16 costs anywhere between $12.7 to $80 million, depending on the variant and the country purchasing the fighter jet.
While that’s no small sum, the F-16 is actually more affordable when compared to other modern fighter jets.
This is because the F-16 was specifically designed as a cost-effective alternative to previous aircraft like the F-15.
Since its introduction, the F-16 has been extremely successful, and has been deployed to many war zones, including in Iraq.
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How Much an F-16 Costs
While there is no set price of an F-16, we know that at the very least the cost ranges in the tens of millions of dollars.
The most expensive F-16 variant: the Block 70 and 72 cost as much as $63 million per unit.
The exact price charged per F-16 largely depends on the plane’s variant, the country buying it, and when it is bought.
As the F-16 was developed as an affordable alternative to the previous F-15, the F-16 is comparatively more affordable than other fighter jets.
How Much F-16 Variants Cost
The F-16A and B were the first production variants. They were exported outside the U.S. for at least $12.7 million per unit in the 1980s.
The F-16C and F-16D were produced in 1984 with improved avionics and radar from the previous versions and all-weather capability.
These variants had a unit cost of $18.8 million in 1998.
The F-16E and F variants were developed from the F-16C/D Block 50/52 planes.
The UAE invested heavily in these variants.
These planes have an average unit cost between $25 to $35 million, while the advanced units cost between $40 to $60 million.
Lockheed Martin developed the F-16IN Super Viper for the Indian MRCA competition.
The F-16IN was developed from the F-16E/F Block 60, and it includes upgrades like advanced electronic warfare, infra-red search and track, and an updated glass cockpit.
The Indian government entered a deal to purchase 200 of these airplanes for between $13 to $15 billion.
This averages to $70 million per unit.
How Much an F-16 Costs Per Flight Hour, to Fuel, and Maintain
The F-16C Viper costs $22,514 to operate per hour.
Assuming a gallon of gas costs $5.5, it costs $5,700 on average to fuel an F-16.
F-16 maintenance costs are not publicly disclosed, but defense analysts speculate it costs $10 million to maintain an F-16 every year.
How Much an F-16 Engine Costs
Fighter jet engines aren’t usually sold individually, so there is no set engine cost.
Instead, engines are sold in bulk to countries because bulk purchases decrease individual costs.
Prat & Whitney manufactures the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, which powers both the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Prat & Whitney recently agreed to provide the Pakistani Air Force with 60 F100-PW-220 engines for Pakistan’s F-16s.
This contract is valued at $220 million, which leads to each engine costing approximately $3.6 million.
Civilians Can Buy an F-16 (and Other Fighter Jets)
Yes, civilians can buy fighter jets, including the F-16.
However, civilian ownership of F-16s and other fighter jets is extremely restricted, and very few people own F-16s or other fighter jets.
Naturally, civilians can only own fighter jets that have been demilitarized. A civilian cannot purchase a fighter jet with weapons onboard.
F-16 vs F-35 Cost
An F-35 fighter jet costs anywhere between $100 million to $400 million to purchase, making it significantly more expensive than the F-16.
Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.
Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.
Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.