The most advanced F-16s in the world aren’t American. That distinction belongs to the UAE, whose F-16 E/F Block 60s are a half-generation ahead of the F-16 C/D Block 50/52+ aircraft that form the backbone of the US Air Force, and of many other fleets around the world.
The Block 60 has been described as a lower-budget alternative to the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. The UAE invested in the type’s development, and the contract reportedly includes royalty fees if other countries buy it. Investment doesn’t end when the fighters are delivered, either. Money is still needed for ongoing training, fielding, and equipment needs. This DID article showcases the F-16 E/F “Desert Falcon,” and offers a window into its associated costs and life cycle, including dedicated equipment purchases for this fighter fleet.