Top 15 Most Expensive Fighter Jets in the World

Top 15 Most Expensive Fighter Jets in the World
The U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team participates in an early sunrise rehearsal at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 21, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Mahalia Frost)

Fighter jets stand out as one of the most costly and formidable military technologies employed by countries worldwide to bolster their defense capabilities.

Here is a list of the top 15 most expensive fighter jets in the world. The estimated prices are determined based on data gathered from reputable sources such as AeroTime, Flight Global, Shephard Media, and The Diplomat, along with other reliable news agencies.

15. Tejas (Price: $29-42 million)

India’s light multirole fighter jet, the Tejas, was developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency to replace the aging MiG-21 fighters. It stands out as one of the lightest supersonic fighters in its class, featuring three variants. The latest iteration, Mk1A, boasts advanced capabilities and is priced at $42 million.

14. Sukhoi Su-57 (Price: $40-45 million)

Russia’s Su-57 is its first foray into stealth fighter technology, designed to compete with American counterparts like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. While the exact unit cost is undisclosed, estimates suggest it falls between $40-45 million. Russia has emphasized a gradual production approach to ensure parity with Western equivalents.

13. F-16 Block 70/72 (Price: $63 million)

Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70/72 represents an advanced fourth-generation fighter. While more affordable variants start at $30 million, the Block 70/72, with enhanced avionics and features, comes with a higher price tag of $63 million per unit.

12. KAI KF-21 Boramae (Price: $65 million)

South Korea’s defense received a significant boost with the introduction of the KF-21 Boramae. Boasting stealth capabilities superior to other fourth-generation jets, each unit is priced at approximately $65 million. The Korean military plans to acquire 40 of these jets by 2028.

11. F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (Price: $67-70 million)

Developed by The Boeing Company, the F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets are supersonic twin-engine fighters equipped with advanced weaponry. The estimated cost per unit ranges from $66.9 million to $70.5 million. Besides the United States Air Force, primary users include Australia and Kuwait.

10. Shenyang FC-31 (Price: $70 million)

China’s prototype multirole fighter, the Shenyang FC-31, is designed to match the capabilities of Western fifth-generation fighter jets. Valued at $70 million, it is versatile, serving roles in ground attack, reconnaissance, and air security. Speculations suggest its potential use as an aircraft carrier-based naval fighter jet.

9. Saab JAS 39E/F Gripen (Price: $85 million)

The JAS 39 Gripen, initially known for its cost-effectiveness, has evolved with the introduction of the E and F versions. Manufactured by Saab AB, these single-engine, supersonic fighter jets now feature advanced radars, avionics, and weapon systems. The average cost per unit is approximately $85 million, making them more expensive but still competitive compared to other advanced fighters.

8. Sukhoi Su-35 (Price: $85 million)

The Sukhoi Su-35 stands out as a highly advanced Russian multirole fighter, representing a significant evolution from the Su-27. Priced at $85 million per unit, it incorporates improvements in avionics, maneuverability, radar systems, and weapon capabilities. With 110 units in the Russian Air Force inventory, it has also seen export success, with China acquiring 24 units for $2.5 billion in 2019.

7. TAI TF Kaan (Price: $100 million)

The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is developing the TAI TF Kaan, a stealth, twin-engine air superiority fighter, aiming to replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon in the Turkish fleet. With the prototype undergoing ground running tests, the projected cost is expected to exceed $100 million per unit.

6. Chengdu J-20 (Price: $110-120 million)

The Chengdu J-20, China’s stealth fighter designed for air superiority, is among the most expensive in the world, with an estimated cost ranging between $110 million and $120 million per unit. Introduced in 2017, it comes in three variants, J-20A, J-20B, and J-20S, showcasing China’s advancements in stealth aircraft technology.

5. Dassault Rafale (Price: $115-124 million)

The French twin-engine, multirole fighter aircraft, Dassault Rafale, stands as one of the most expensive fighter jets globally. Priced between $115-124 million, the Rafale is equipped with a wide range of weapons and boasts capabilities such as air supremacy, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike, ground support, and nuclear deterrence missions. AeroTime estimates the per unit cost at approximately $115 million, while Shephard Media quotes it at $124 million.

4. F-15EX Eagle II (Price: $117 million)

The Boeing F-15EX Eagle II, a variant of the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, is among the world’s most expensive fighter jets. Priced at $117 million, it maintains a relatively lower operating cost at $29,000 per hour, one-third of the operating cost of the F-35. Despite its expense, the F-15EX offers a more cost-effective option compared to other advanced counterparts.

3. Eurofighter Typhoon (Price: $117-124 million)

Introduced in August 2023, the Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly advanced fighter jet designed by Airbus, BAE Systems, and Leonardo for air superiority. Member nations of the European Union involved in its development can acquire it for as low as $50 million, but the export price for other countries is higher. In 2018, Airbus offered these fighter jets to India for $124 million per unit, and the UK National Audit Office estimated the cost to be $117 million in 2023.

2. F-22 Raptor (Price: $143 million)

Developed by Lockheed Martin Corporation, the F-22 Raptor stands out as one of the most expensive and advanced fighter jets globally. Priced at $143 million per unit, this stealth aircraft is a single-seat, twin-engine marvel, featuring top-notch attributes that position it among the finest fifth-generation fighters.

1. F-35 Lightning II (Price: $150-200 million)

The F-35 Lightning II, produced by Lockheed Martin Corporation, is renowned as one of the most advanced fighters in history. Serving as a centerpiece of global security, it offers stealth capabilities, intelligence, reconnaissance, and successful strike missions. The F-35 comes in three variants—F-35A, F-35B, and F-35C—with prices ranging between $150-200 million. AeroTime estimates the unit cost at $177 million, while Fortune provides a price range based on different specifications of the order.

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