10 Fastest Planes in the World

Air travel has enormous economic and social benefits. It promotes tourism, trade, and connectivity, supports economic growth, creates jobs, raises living standards, alleviates poverty, serves as a lifeline for isolated populations, and allows fast and efficient emergency response.

The invention of the airplane is a phenomenon of the twentieth century. Aircraft quickly advanced, from the first powered aircraft to the development of supersonic transport. So it’s no surprise that the world is captivated by plane speed and how it grows through time.

10. Sukhoi Su-27

Top Speed: 2,500 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: Fighter Jet
Country of Origin: Russia
 First flight: May 20, 1977

Sukhoi Su-27photo source: images6.alphacoders.com

Since 1977, when it was first introduced as an export variant with cutting-edge features like thrust vectoring nozzles, variable intakes, twin nose wheels, and double tail fins that improve its takeoff, this Russian jet fighter has been a mainstay for Soviet and currently Russian air forces.

The Su-27 is a twin-engine fighter jet designed to counter other countries’ military aircraft. With a maximum altitude of 13 kilometers and a top speed of 2500 kilometers per hour (1500 miles per hour), the aircraft can travel from Los Angeles to New York in under two hours.

Did You Know:

30% of the Su-27’s airframe and wings were made of titanium.


9. General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark

Top Speed: 2,655 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: multirole combat aircraft
Country of Origin: United States of America
 First flight: December 21, 1964

General Dynamics F-111 Aardvarkphoto source: f-111.net

Two Pratt & Whitney TF30 afterburning turbofan engines power the F-111. In addition, a terrain-following radar system is included in the F-111 versions. General Dynamics worked with Northrop Grumman to develop the fuselage, landing gear, and aircraft assembly and testing.

Titanium and aluminum are primarily used in F-111’s construction. It has a cockpit with side-by-side seats, an internal weapons bay, and an escape crew capsule.

Did You Know:

The F-111 earned the nickname “Aardvark” because of its large, slightly arched nose.


8. McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

Top Speed: 3,017 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: weather tactical fighter aircraft
Country of Origin: United States of America
 First flight: July 27, 1972

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eaglephoto source: upload.wikimedia.org

The F-15 includes electronic systems and weaponry that detect, acquire, track, and strike hostile aircraft while flying in friendly or enemy airspace.

The weapons and flight control systems are built such that air-to-air combat can be performed safely and effectively by a single person.

The F-15 is one of the most successful and fastest fighter jets ever built. This plane’s twin engines can push it up to 2.5 times the speed of sound, making it nearly as fast as a rocket.

Did You Know:

The United States, Japan, Israel, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Qatar are countries that currently fly F-15.


7. Mikoyan MiG-31

Top Speed: 3,000 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: interceptor aircraft
Country of Origin: Russia
 First flight: September 16, 1975

Mikoyan MiG-31photo source: live.staticflickr.com

The MiG-31 can fly under visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR) at any time of day or night in any weather. It’s a true look-down and shoot-down fighter from the Soviet Union.

The supersonic interceptor aircraft’s 152-kilonewton thrust Aviadvigatel D30-F6 turbofans enable a top speed of Mach 1.23 at low altitudes.

The thrust-to-drag ratio is adequate for speeds above Mach 3, but such speeds pose unacceptable risks to engine and airframe life when used frequently. High-altitude speed is temperature-redlined at Mach 2.83

Did You Know:

The Mig-31 set two altitude records in 1977 while flying higher than any other operational combat aircraft, and both are still in effect today. Before reaching the Foxhound’s maximum altitude of 123,500 feet, test pilot Alexander Fedotov set a record for the fastest time to 115,000 feet (4 minutes, 11 seconds).


6. North American XB-70 Valkyrie

Top Speed: 3,309 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: bomber aircraft
Country of Origin: United States of America
 First flight: September 21, 1964

North American XB-70 Valkyriephoto source: upload.wikimedia.org

North American Aviation’s XB-70 Valkyrie is a six-engine bomber prototype. It was intended to be a nuclear bomber that could avoid radar detection and deliver its payload extremely precisely from great heights. Still, it only flew for 34 hours before being grounded due to safety issues after an engine failed after takeoff at Edwards Air Force Base in June 1966.

Did You Know:

Only two North American XB-70 Valkyries were built, making it one of the most unusual-looking aircraft in aviation history.


5. Bell X-2

Top Speed: 3,370 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: swept-wing research aircraft
Country of Origin: United States of America
 First flight: November 18, 1955

Bell X-2photo source: nasa.gov

The Bell X-2 was a swept-wing, rocket-powered research aircraft built to examine stability and control performance at very high speeds and altitudes and the structural effects of aerodynamic heating.

A two-chamber Curtiss-Wright XLR25 throttleable liquid-fueled rocket engine was built into the vehicles. The range of the thrust rating was between 2,500 and 15,000 pounds. In addition, the pilot’s escape capsule was included with the X-2.

Did You Know:

The X-2 replica on exhibit at the Planes of Fame Air Museum was built for the Quantum Leap television series.


4. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25

Top Speed: 3,494 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: interceptor aircraft
Country of Origin: Russia
 First flight: March 6, 1964

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25photo source: wikimedia.org

One of the fastest military aircraft to ever enter military service is the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25, a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich Bureau of the Soviet Union created the aircraft. The last plane ever created by Mikhail Gurevich before he left owing to his retirement, this is one of the earliest aircraft to use stainless steel material.

Did You Know:

An interceptor aircraft is a fighter with the finest design and weaponry for intercepting, defeating, or routing invading soldiers.


3. Lockheed YF-12

Top Speed: 3,661 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: interceptor aircraft
Country of Origin: United States of America
 First flight: August 7, 1963

Lockheed YF-12photo source: nasa.gov

The aircraft, which had a service ceiling of 90,000 feet, was frequently flown to 80,000 feet. This two-person aircraft could reach this altitude in less than 10 minutes. This was due to the aircraft’s ability to climb at an astonishing 10,000 feet per minute.

Did You Know:

James D. Eastham flew the first YF-12A when it took off for its first flight on August 7, 1963. For taking pictures of AIM-47 missile launches, it had a sleek camera pod located beneath each engine nacelle. There were three YF-12As made.


2. Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Top Speed: 3,540 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: strategic reconnaissance aircraft
Country of Origin: United States of America
 First flight: December 22, 1964

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbirdphoto source: live.staticflickr.com

The SR-71 was designed as a tanker for long-distance missions such as surveillance or nuclear strikes. The plane features high speed capable of outrunning surface-to-air missiles by flying above their range and avoiding radar detection from ground stations.

It is one of the fastest planes with the highest success rate from 1968, when it first flew officially, until 1999, when it was retired after capturing 80% of top-secret Soviet documents during the Cold War years.

Did You Know:

The CIA set up multiple front companies to obtain the necessary titanium to build Blackbirds from the Soviet Union.


1. North American X-15

Top Speed: 7,274 kilometers per hour
 Type of Aircraft: hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft
Country of Origin: United States of America
 First flight: June 8, 1959

North American X-15photo source: media.defense.gov

The fastest plane in the world is the North American Military Aircraft X-15. It was the world’s first piloted aircraft to reach hypersonic speeds, or more than five times the speed of sound, and it made the first manned trips to the edge of space.

In the 1960s, the X-15 was a powerful tool in spaceflight development, and pilots flying above 50 miles altitude in the X-15 earned astronaut wings.

Did You Know:

The X-15 test plane was advertised as the United States’ first crewed attempt to fly outside Earth’s atmosphere.

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