General Dynamics F-16A/B Fighting Falcon for Iran

Last revised March 19, 2000

The first foreign customer beyond the four original European NATO originators of the F-16 program was Iran. As a part of the Shah's plan to modernize the Imperial Iranian Air Force, Iran signed a letter of intent on October 27, 1976 for 160 F-16 aircraft, with the possibility of a follow-on order for 140 more. However, the Iranian revolution of 1979 which resulted in the overthrow of the Shah and the rise of the Islamic fundamentalist regime which currently rules the country caused the order to be cancelled.

Unfortunately, one immediate effect of the cancellation of the Iranian order was that the individual unit cost of the F-16 was driven sharply upward. However, many of the F-16s intended for Iran were eventually sold to Israel.


  1. Combat Aircraft F-16, Doug Richardson, Crescent, 1992.

  2. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

  4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  5. F-16 Fighting Falcon--A Major Review of the West's Universal Warplane, Robert F. Dorr, World Airpower Journal, Spring 1991.

  6. The World's Great Interceptor Aircraft, Gallery, 1989.

  7. Modern Military Aircraft--F-16 Viper, Lou Drendel, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1992.

  8. Lockheed F-16 Variants, Part 1, World Airpower Journal, Volume 21, Summer 1995.

  9. Israeli Air Power into the 1990s, Tim Ripley, Air International, September 1993, page 128.