I read that an M346 AND 20 YEARS SUPPORT cost $73M per plane. Do you have a similar number for the F-16? I don't think you do.
The F-16 block 52 costs $8,278 per flight hour in 2016. So $10,000 per hour would be a fair estimate today.
With the Israel M346 deal at $73M total that is $48M left for fuel and sustainment over a 20 year, 8000 hour service life at 400 hour yearly usage. That is $6,000 per flight hour.
The M346 has 60% of the hourly operating cost of a block 52 F-16. The M346 would be lucky to have 30% of the capability.
F-16 ownership cost
Estimated new purchase price $75M. Per hour flight price $10,000 per hour over 8,000 hours is another $80M. Total life cost: $155M
M346 ownership cost
Estimated new purchase price 25M. Per hour flight cost $6,000 per hour over 8,000 hours is another $48M. Total life cost: $73M
This is why refurbished second hand F-16's are so popular. They have a similar initial purchased price to a light fighter but with far more initial capability. They usually have thousands of flight hours left. If they are operated in a similar fashion to a light fighter they will last 20 years.
The Super Hornet makes a great option. At under $70M each and about $13,000 per hour flight cost is excellent. Total life cost $174M.
You can only get 2.38 M346 aircraft for every Super Hornet. I would rather 12 Super Hornets over 28 M346 fighters. Fully loaded the Super Hornets can carry more missiles.
As to the F-16 having a longer range ... true. If you want long range strike, don't use an M346. If you want lots of strikes cheaply, the M346 looks better.
I don't think Afghanistan or Iraq was an example of long range strike.
When you've been loitering for a couple hours and the fuel load is down to 50% then the F-16 might now have double the range available to reach a target. The extra range will always be needed.