Lockheed Martin, Boeing fighter jets top list of 10 most popular

It’s a lazy Sunday, you’re lounging in your kitchen, daydreaming about Labor Day plans. Literally the perfect time to talk military aircraft, right?

Lockheed Martin hopes its F-35 will one day be the industry standard. (Ermaleksandr/Flickr)
Lockheed Martin hopes its F-35 will one day be the industry standard. (Ermaleksandr/Flickr)
Lockheed Martin hopes its F-35 will one day be the industry standard. (Ermaleksandr/Flickr)

It’s a lazy Sunday, you’re probably lounging in your kitchen, sipping your coffee and dreaming about all the fun things you have planned for Labor Day. It’s literally the perfect time to talk military aircraft, am I right?

Fightglobal Insight released a report of most popular fighter jets for 2016 — and Boeing and Lockheed (to no one’s surprise) filled a few spots at the top of the list. I know what you’re thinking — where can I get one and how much is this going to cost me?

Well, these planes aren’t cheap, but if you’ve got a few hundred million and a fascination with Top Gun, these are the best for bang for your buck.

Lockheed Martin F-16 Falcon – $34 million
Lockheed Martin's F-16 Falcon--sleek. (Carlos Menendez San Juan/Flickr)
Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Falcon–sleek. (Carlos Menendez San Juan/Flickr)

Lockheed Martin’s F-16 tops the 2016 list. There are 2,264 of these bad boys in service, making up 16 percent of fighter jets worldwide. The F-16 is most popular because it is the most cost effective fighter jet, the Motley Fool reported. Lockheed has sold more than 4,500 of these jets worldwide and more than half are still flying.

The jets cost about $21,450 per flight hour versus $67,549 per flight hour for their new F-35 Lighting II stealth fighter jet. Some versions could cost even more, but Lockheed Martin hopes the F-35 II will become the new industry standard.

Boeing F-18 Hornet – $92 million
Boeing's F-18 Hornet. (Ruben Alexander/Flickr)
Boeing’s F-18 Hornet. (Ruben Alexander/Flickr)

Coming in second is Boeing’s F-18 Hornet. The 1,047 of these jets currently in service make up 7 percent of the fighter jet fleet worldwide. Despite their ranking, the Motley Fool reported that production levels of this particular model have decreased consistently over the past couple years — from 62 in 2013 to 47 in 2015.

Boeing F-15 Eagle – $100 million
Boeing's F-15 Eagle is the company's more expensive and less popular model. (Wildhog 1977/Flickr)
Boeing’s F-15 Eagle is the company’s more expensive and less popular model. (Wildhog 1977/Flickr)

Boeing’s more expensive and less popular F-15 comes in at number four — just below Russian Sukhoi’s $18 million Su-27 Flanker. Boeing’s F-15 is less stealthy and more expensive than its F-18 model, but the company still managed to churn out 12 of these craft to its customers. At the moment, Boeing has 858 F-15’s in circulation, giving them a 6 percent share in the market.

Northrop Grumman F-5 Tiger – $20 to $25 million
An F-5E Tiger II model from Northrop Grumman. (Bundesheer Fotos/Flickr)
An F-5E Tiger II model from Northrop Grumman. (Bundesheer Fotos/Flickr)

Although it might not have a seat at the popular table in the Colorado aerospace sector, Northrop Grumman has locations in Boulder and Aurora — and eighth place on the list of most popular fighter jets.

The F-5 Tiger is actually no longer in production, but 482 remain in circulation, giving this model a 3 percent share in the global fighter jet fleet. And curiously, these jets seem to be coming back from the dead. The number of operational jets rose from 468 to 482 in the past year.

That’s a wrap for Colorado companies on the list of most popular fighter jets. The other six positions are filled by two jets made by Sukhoi, two from the Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich, and two jets from Chinese Chengdu — one is no longer in production.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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