25 Most Expensive Fighter Jets

By: Colin Ritsick, 2020

Structured from least to most, here are the most expensive fighter jets in the world. All prices are adjusted to reflect their status in 2018 dollars, and all prices indicate per unit cost (not including research and development costs). The aircraft on this list include jets in a fighter/attack role. So, without further ado, enjoy learning about the most expensive military jets in the world.

25. $23.8 million – MiG-29 Fulcrum

most expensive military jets, MiG-29
Krasimir Grozev

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 is a twin-engine air superiority aircraft, referred to as Fulcrum by NATO. Some consider the Mig-29 superior to other fourth-generation American and European fighter jets of their time. The jet entered service in 1982 and continues to adapt to meet modern-day threats of enemy fighters. Russia, Ukraine and India operate the majority of all MiG-29s ever made.The MiG-29 reaches a maximum speed of about 1,500 mph, which is above Mach 2. This won’t be the last Russian aircraft that lands on the list of most expensive fighter jets.

MiG-29 Cost: $23.8 million

24. $25.1 million – MiG-21

most expensive military jets, MiG-21
Tomislav Haraminčić

The MiG-21 is a single-engine jet fighter produced by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau as an improvement on prior generations of the MiG-17 and MiG-19. It is outfitted with one Tumansky R25-300 turbojet which gives the MiG-21 a maximum speed of 1,350 mph. Built in an era long before advanced radar and avionics, the MiG-21 employs an ambush style of attack. The aircraft relied heavily on speed, attacking its target and speeding off before any enemy-fire could catch it. While they are publicly available and inexpensive today, the MiG-21 cost roughly $2.9 million dollars in 1959 when it was produced.

MiG-21 Cost: $25.1 million

23. $29.1 million – F-16C/D Fighting Falcon

most expensive military jets, F-16C
Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway, U.S. Air Force

Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multi-role, single-engine fighter aircraft used frequently in air superiority missions as well as close air support. The current block of F-16s, the C and D variant include an updated performance engine, either the General Electric F110 or the Pratt & Whitney F100. The F-16C is the updated single-seat version and the F-16D is the two-seat version. The F-16 is one of the most widely produced and flown aircraft in military history; and it’s the first American-made most expensive fighter jets on the list. These two versions of the F-16 first entered service in 1994 and are heavily relied on today. The fighter jet cost $18.8 million dollars in 1998, which in 2018 equates to:

F-16C/D Cost: $29.1 million

22. $30.6 million – Dassault Mirage 2000

most expensive military jets, Dassault mirage 2000
SRA Greg L. Davis, U.S. Air Force

This tactical, multirole fighter/bomber from France is designed for low-altitude close air support and high-speed deep penetration strikes into contested airspace. The Dassault Mirage entered service in 1984. It’s racked up quite an impressive resume of combat victories since then and is the most exported European combat aircraft. It’s SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofan gives it a maximum speed of 1,450 mph. The Dassault Mirage 2000 costs $30.6 million.

Dassault Mirage Cost: $30.6 million

21. $33.2 million – MiG-31 Foxhound

most expensive military jets, MiG-31
Vitaly Kuzmin

NATO gave this two-seat supersonic interceptor the name ‘Foxhound’. The MiG-31 first took flight in 1975, entered service in 1982 and is operated almost exclusively by the Russian Air Force and the Kazakstan Air Force. Two Solovyev D-30F6 turbofan shaft engines power the Foxhound to a maximum speed of 2.4 Mach, or approximately 1,900 mph. This interceptor jet is designed to fly at high speeds at low altitude as well as track multiple targets simultaneously at high altitudes.This list most expensive military jets in the world is compiled by Military Machine.

MiG-31 Cost: $33.2 million

20. $34.1 million – F/A-18 Hornet

most expensive military jets, Super Hornet
Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon, U.S. Air Force

The United States’ first strike fighter, the F/A-18 is a twin engine, multi-mission tactical aircraft. Currently, the D model is the U.S. Navy aircraft for attack, forward air control and tactical air control.  The F/A-18 operates from all 10 active aircraft carriers and is a dominant sight at Blue Angels airshows. One of the most well-loved, most expensive fighter jets ever. Two F404-GE-402 enhanced performance turbofan engines power the F/A-18 max speed to Mach 1.7. The Navy priced the F/A-18 at $29 million in 2009, which in 2018 equates to:

F/A-18 Hornet Cost: $34.1 million

19. $37.5 million – Su-30

most expensive military jets, Su-30


The Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighter is the variant of the Su-30 MK family of jet fighters designed specifically for the Russian Air Force. The Su-30 is piloted by a crew of two. The fighter is powered by two AL-31FP by-pass turbojet engines, giving the jet a max speed of nearly 1,500 mph. The Su-30’s maximum operational altitude is about 56,000 feet.

SU-30 Cost: $37.5 million

18.$41.2 million – Su-27 Flanker

most expensive military jets, Su-27
Dmitriy Pichugin

Russia ordered the Su-27 Flanker in response to American fourth-generation jet fighters; the F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle. The Su-27 (dubbed “Flanker” by NATO) is a multi-role/air superiority fighter that’s been in service (and on the list of most expensive fighter jets) since 1985. The U.S. Department of Defense actually bought several Sukhoi SU-27s in order to test its own military’s preparedness against the jet fighter. The Sukhoi Su-27 is powered by twin Saturn/Lyulka AL-31F turbofans, giving the aircraft a max speed of 1,550 mph, over Mach 2.

Su-27 Cost: $41.2 million

17. $42.1 million – Su-34

most expensive military jets, Su-34
Oleg V. Belyakov

This twin-seat fighter/bomber is an offshoot of the Su-27 Flanker. Russia ordered the Su-34 into production in 2008, it entered service in 2015 and Sukhoi Design Bureau will deliver Su-34s until 2020. The jet, externally, is similar to the Su-27 except the nose of the aircraft is a different shape in order to accommodate a new radar. Two after-burning Saturn AL-31F turbofan engines allow the Su-34 a max speed of Mach 1.6, or 1,200 mph.

Su-34 Cost $42.1 million

16. $43.1 million – F-15 Eagle

most expensive military jets, F-15
Staff Sgt. Samuel Rogers, U.S. Air Force

This air superiority jet fighter has been an integral part of the U.S. Air Force’s operation since its induction in 1972. High maneuverability, thrust-to-weight ratio, and excellent performance in all weather conditions characterizes the F-15 Eagle. Depending on the variant, two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100, 220 or 229 turbofan engines with afterburners power the F-15 to a max speed of 1,875 mph, about Mach 2.4. The F-15 cost $29.9 million in 1998, which equates to:

F-15 Cost: $43.1 million

15. $48.6 million – MiG-35 Fulcrum

most expensive military jets, MiG-35
Russian Air Force

This 4.5 generation fighter is an offshoot of the MiG-29, thus they share a name. This multi-role fighter contains advanced avionics and two RD-33MKB engines that give it an estimated max speed of Mach 2.2. Although it hasn’t entered service, the public had opportunities to see the MiG-35 in action. At an airshow in 2005, the MiG-35 Fulcrum displayed its maneuverability to the crowd. It made a lasting impression because many now believe that the super-maneuverability capability (ability to sustain angles of attack at increased speed) of the MiG-35 is its best feature. This list most expensive military jets in the world is compiled by Military Machine.

MiG-35 Cost: $48.6 million

14. $45-55 million – Saab JAS 39 Gripen

most expensive military jets, Saab JAS 39
Tuomo Salonen, Finnish Aviation Museum

A sleek delta wing shape and an aggressive canard accompany the the JAS 39, a fourth generation fighter that goes toe-to-toe with fifth generation counterparts and is a no-doubter on the list of most expensive fighter jets. It features a fly-by-wire control system and is aggressively priced to sell to countries such as the Czech Republic, Thailand, and other friendly nations. The JAS 39 comes with a single Volvo RM12 afterburning turbofan, giving the Saab JAS 39 a max speed of roughly 1,370 mph.

Saab JAS 39 Gripen Cost: $45-55 million

13. $59.6 million – Panavia Tornado

most expensive military jets, Panavia Tornado
Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald, U.S. Air Force

The most popular strike fighter in Europe, the aging Panavia Tornado outnumbers the new Eurofighter Typhoon in Europe two to one. The Tornado, built by Italy and used by nearly every nation of NATO, entered service in 1979 and remains there to this day. One of its most notable features are the “swing wings,” which allow the Tornado to rapidly transition from high-speed, high-altitude combat to low-level and fairly slow bombing runs with ease. Two turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk 103 afterburning turbofan engines power the Panavia Tornado to a max speed of Mach 2.2. That’s an impressive feat for a jet built in the early to mid-1970s.

Panavia Tornado Cost: $59.6 million

12. $63.9 million – F-14 Tomcat

most expensive military jets, F-14
U.S. Air Force

This two-seat, twin-engine fighter aircraft capable of long distance interception was designed to be the U.S. Navy’s premier Fleet Air Defense (FAD). The F-14 Tomcat entered service in 1974 and retired in 2006 as the U.S. military’s fighter jet prowess grew exponentially (one of the most expensive fighter jets was also the aircraft used in ‘Top Gun’). Two General Electric F110-GE-400 after burning turbofans propel the F-14 Tomcat to a max speed of Mach 2.3. This list most expensive military jets in the world is compiled by Military Machine.

F-14 Cost: $63.9 million

11. $74.8 million – EA-18G Growler

most expensive fighter jets, ea-18g growler
Commander Ian C. Anderson, U.S. Navy

The EA-18G Growler represents the new age in electronic aircraft technology. It debuted in 2008 and is the Navy’s first electronic warfare aircraft with a new design in over three decades. The EA-18G took the reigns from the EA-6B “Prowler” as the Navy‘s primary electronic attack aircraft. Two F414-GE-400 turbofan engines give the EA-18G a max speed of 1,190 mph or Mach 1.8.

EA-18G Cost: $74.8 million

10. $76.4 million  – Su-35 Flanker-E

most expensive military jets, Su-35
Aleksandr Markin

The latest in the Russia-made Sukhoi family of most expensive military fighter jets, the Su-35 Flanker-E is a single seat, twin-engine multirole fighter. It is an offshoot the Su-27 Flanker. The updated Flanker-E is labeled as a 4.5-generation fighter designed as an intermittent aircraft until the fifth-generation Sukhoi PAK-FA is debuted. Two Lyulka AL-31FM afterburning turbofan engines power the Su-35 to a max speed of 1,550 mph.

Su-35 Cost: $76.4 million

9. $79.8 million – F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

most expensive fighter jets, Super Hornet
Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon, U.S. Air Force

One of the most versatile jets on this list, the The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is an evolved F/A-18. It operates off of an aircraft carrier and performs electronic warfare missions, air-to-air interdiction and bombing missions as well as others. It’s first combat mission was in 2002 over the Persian Gulf, where it enforced the “no-fly” zone. Two General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans power this U.S. Navy aircraft, giving it a max speed of 1,190 mph or Mach 1.6. This list most expensive military jets in the world is compiled by Military Machine.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Cost: $79.8 million

8. $93.6 million – Dassault Rafale

most expensive military jets, Dassault Rafale

Entering service in 2004, the Dassault Rafale is France’s most updated multi-role fighter jet. With three main variants, the Rafale is capable of air superiority, aircraft carrier operations, strategic target destruction, and nuclear deterrence missions. Two SNECMA M88-2 afterburning turbofan engines give the Rafale a maximum speed of Mach 1.8. It has a combat radius of 1000 nautical miles, but can extend to twice that with three fuel drop tanks mounted on its hard points. This list most expensive military jets in the world is compiled by Military Machine.

Dassault Rafale Cost: $93.6 million

7. $94.6 million – F-35A Lightning II

most expensive fighter jets, F-35A
Master Sgt John Nimmo Sr., U.S. Air Force

The conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) version of the United States’ newest and most technologically advanced jet, the F-35A belongs to the U.S. Air Force. The fifth-generation fighter combines air-to-air as well as air-to-ground attack capabilities. It’s advanced avionics suite tracks, locks and engages the enemy before the enemy is aware the F-35A is there, eliminating the need for a dogfight scenario. One Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine powers the F-35A, giving it a max speed of roughly 1,200 mph or Mach 2.

F-35A Cost: $94.6 million

6. $105.7 million – Eurofighter Typhoon

most expensive military jets, Eurofighter typhoon
Ronnie Macdonald

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin engine multirole fighter. It was created by a large number of European designers, most notably, Eurofighter. It deployed in 2003 and while the multirole fighter isn’t as adept at air-to-ground combat as the Panavia Tornado – it’s been suggested the Typhoon outperforms most American fighters in air-to-air superiority. Two Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofan engines propel the Eurofighter Typhoon’s max speed to 1,550 mph, well over Mach 2.

Eurofighter Typhoon Cost: $105.7 million

5. $107.7 million – F-117 Nighthawk

most expensive fighter jets, F-117
Senior Master Sgt. Kim Frey, U.S. Air Force

Contracted, designed and built in secrecy, the F-117 is the U.S. Air Force’s first stealth aircraft. Even breaking the numbered naming norm of American fighters was a move to confuse the enemy. The F-117 Nighthawk would have been F-19. This stealth attack aircraft entered service in 1982 and officially retired in 2008. Two General Electric F404-F1D2 turbofans power the F-117 Nighthawk, giving it a max speed of over 700 mph. It comes in at No. 5 on the list of most expensive military jets in the world. This list most expensive military jets in the world is compiled by Military Machine.

F-117 Cost: $107.7 million

4. $110 million – Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle

Chengdu J-20
People’s Liberation Army Air Force

The Chinese Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle is a twin-engine, multi-role, fifth-generation strike fighter jet. It entered service for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force in 2017. PRC projects to use the fighter until the 2050s. Twin afterburning turbofan engines give the J-20 a max speed of 1,350mph. It comes in at No. 4 on the list of most expensive military jets in the world.

J-20 Cost: $110 million

3. $121.8 million – F-35B Lightning II

most expensive fighter jets, F-35B STOVL
U.S. Marine Corps

The short-takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) version of the United States’ newest and most technologically advanced jet, the F-35B belongs to the U.S. Marine Corps. The fifth-generation fighter combines air-to-air as well as air-to-ground attack capabilities. The F-35B contains the Rolls-Royce patented LiftFan propulsion system and an engine that can swivel 90 degrees. This gives the U.S. Marine Corps the option to land at the forefront of battle without a long, structured runway. One Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine powers the F-35B, giving it a max speed of roughly 1,200 mph or Mach 2. It comes in at No. 3 on the list of most expensive military jets in the world.

F-35B Cost: $121.8 million

2. $122.8 million – F-35C Lightning II

F-35C on the flight deck of a carrier
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Shauna C. Sowersby, U.S. Navy

The carrier version of the United States’ newest and most technologically advanced jet, the F-35C belongs to the U.S. Navy. The fifth-generation fighter combines air-to-air as well as air-to-ground attack capabilities. The most expensive of the F-35 family, the F-35C has larger wings and more robust landing gear. One Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine powers the F-35C, giving it a max speed of roughly 1,200 mph or Mach 2. It comes in at No. 2 on the list of most expensive fighter jets in the world.

F-35C Cost: $122.8 million

1. $152 million – F-22 Raptor

most expensive fighter jets, F-22
Rob Schenk

Of all the most expensive fighter jets – this one reigns supreme. The U.S. Air Force maintains the F-22 Raptor costs only $143 million per unit, as of 2015. Even then, that price tag may be understated. Regardless, the F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter jet is the most expensive military jet on the planet. This stealthy fifth-generation fighter entered service in 2005 and projects to be around for three to four decades. Two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners and two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles give the F-22 unmatched maneuverability and a top speed of over 1,500mph with supercruise capability. It is the most expensive out of all the most expensive military jets in the world.

F-22 Raptor Cost: $152 million

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