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.
How Much Does an F-16 Cost? (Range)
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 Does a F-16 Cost? (By Variant)
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 Does an F-16 Engine Cost?
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.
How Much Does an F-16 Cost to Operate?
Cost Per Hour
The F-16C Viper costs $22,514 to operate per hour.
Cost of Fuel
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 Many F-16s Have Been Sold?
Over 4,600 F-16s have been manufactured since 1976.
- United States Air Force
The United States Air Force has 2,231 F-16s in its fleet.
Belgium was the largest initial buyer of F-16s among NATO’s four original partners.
Belgium purchased 116 of the F-16A/B variants and 44 of the F-16A/B-15OCU variant.
So, they have 160 F-16s
The Danish military has a fleet of 62 F-16A/Bs.
The Netherlands purchased 213 F-16A/B variants.
Norway retired all their F-16s in 2022 and placed a new order of 72 F-16A/Bs.
Greece has 154 F-16s of different variants.
Poland has 48 F-16C/D variants.
The Portuguese Air Force has a fleet of 27 F-16 A/Bs.
Romania only has 4 F-16s, which they purchased from Portugal.
Turkey has 246 F-16s. Turkey is also one of five countries that produce their own F-16s.
Bahrain owns 16 F-16Cs.
Egypt has 22 F-16s.
Israel has 175 F-16C/I variants.
Iraq has 26 F-16C/IQI variants.
Jordan has 44 F-16As.
Oman has 12 F-16s.
- United Arab Emirates
The UAE has 78 E Block 60 variants
Morocco has 23 F-16C/Ds.
Indonesia has 33 F-16s.
Pakistan has 75 F-16s.
- South Korea
South Korea has 180 F-16C/Ds.
Taiwan has 140 F-16s.
Thailand has 51 F-16s.
Chile has 44 F-16s.
Venezuela has 21 F-16s.
Can Civilians Buy an F-16 or Any Other Fighter Jet?
Yes, civilians can purchase an F-16 and other fighter jets.
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.
How Successful Has the F-16 Been in Conflict?
The F-16 has been extremely successful in conflict.
These jets have been deployed in many recent conflicts, including Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when the United States Air Force deployed 249 F-16s.
These F-16s successfully conducted strikes against Iraqi military units, including an Iraqi MiG-25 in 1992, the first F-16 kill since the plane’s introduction.
The F-16 claims 76 confirmed air-to-air victories, 1 air-to-air loss, and 5 losses from air to ground fire.
In conclusion, the F-16 is one of the world’s best modern fighter planes. Surprisingly, the F-16 is actually more affordable when compared with other popular fighter planes like the previous F-15.
The F-16 doesn’t have a fixed price, but its purchase cost ranges from $12.7 to $80 million.