In the 21st century, there are fighter jets, and then there are fighter jets. Which kind you get depends on how much you want to pay.

Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor stealth fighter -- arguably the most expensive fighter jet in the world. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Got hundreds of millions of dollars to toss around? Then like the U.S. government, you can hire Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) to design and build an F-22 Raptor stealth fighter -- widely believed to be the most capable air superiority combat jet in the world today. (Of course, if you cut your production run short before efficiencies of scale kick in, the planes end up costing $412 million apiece.)

Or, that same kind of money will buy you a good handful of Boeing's (NYSE:BA) top-of-the-line, fourth-generation fighters -- F/A-18s or F-15s that retail for about $100 million each.

Buying on a budget? In that case, you may be better off with a Soviet-era Sukhoi Su-34 "Fullback." List price: $36 million. Or for the true bargain seeker, Textron's (NYSE:TXT) new Scorpion may suffice -- a steal at $17 million per plane.

Depending on what a nation state needs, various buyers pick various warplanes, and pay at various price points. Which are the most popular combinations today? Take a click-tour of the world's most popular fighter jets in the slideshow below and find out.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.