Flying is a thrilling experience and the world’s quickest means of transportation. Traveling across continents, nations, and oceans in a couple of hours is now feasible thanks to airplanes.
Before airplanes, people had to rely on ships and road trips that could take days or even weeks to travel the same distances. However, with technological advancements, airplanes can now take just minutes to reach their destination.
In this post, we are going to meet top 10 fastest planes in the world. These aircraft can achieve speeds that no other mode of transportation can, and our ranking will be based solely on speed.
What is the purpose of the fastest plane in the world?
The purpose of the fastest plane in the world is to achieve high speeds for various applications. It is used for military reconnaissance, conducting research, and breaking speed records. Its exceptional velocity allows for quick transportation of people, cargo, or equipment in emergency situations.
Also Read: Top 10 Fastest Car in the World
Fastest Plane in the World: Exploring the Top High-Speed Aircraft of All Time
Here are Top 10 fastest planes in the world:
1. F-111 Aardvark from United States
In the late 1960s, the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark took its first flight as a supersonic fighter-bomber, capable of reaching a top speed of 1,650 miles per hour at Mach 2.15.
The F-111 Aardvark was a pioneering aircraft that incorporated various aviation innovations such as variable-sweep wings and after-burning turbofan engines.
In the United States Air Force, the F-111 Aardvark was replaced by the F-15E Strike Eagle for strike operations and the B-1B Lancer for supersonic bombers.
Despite its retirement, the F-111 Aardvark remains an essential part of aviation history, with its innovations influencing the design of numerous subsequent aircraft.
2. McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II from United States
Developed in the late 1950s by McDonnell Aircraft, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber that features two seats, twin engines, all-weather capabilities, and long-range capabilities. It was primarily developed for the US Navy.
By the mid-1960s, the Phantom had been accepted by the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force, and had become a significant part of their air forces due to its high adaptability.
Production of the Phantom lasted from 1958 to 1981, during which time a total of 5,195 aircraft were produced, making it the most produced American supersonic military aircraft and a Cold War icon.
Equipped with an M61 Vulcan rotary gun, the Phantom was initially created without an internal gun like other interceptors of the era, and established 15 in-flight performance world records starting in 1959, including marks for absolute speed and altitude.
3. Sukhoi SU-27 “Flanker” from Soviet Union
Developed by the Soviet Union as a response to fourth-generation fighters from the US, the Sukhoi SU-27 “Flanker” is a twin-engine fighter jet that continues to be used today. Commonly referred to as “Flankers,” these aircraft are more than 35 years old and have a maximum speed of 1600 mph (2.08 Mach).
The “Flanker” was designed to excel in air superiority and extreme mobility, making it capable of executing a variety of aerial operations. Due to its popularity and versatility as a fighter jet, numerous variants like the Chinese Shenyang J-11 were developed from the “Flanker.”
4. Mikoyan MiG-31 “Foxhound” from Soviet Union
The Mikoyan MiG-31 “Foxhound” a fighter jet from the Cold War era, chose maneuverability over speed, an advancement from its predecessors. Despite this, the plane still boasts impressive speeds, capable of reaching up to 1900 mph (Mach 2.47), making it one of the fastest aircraft globally.
In addition to its impressive speed, the “Foxhound” was an early adopter of radar systems capable of detecting stealth fighters. Additionally, the fighter jet achieved a milestone that only one other aircraft had accomplished at that time: the ability to launch long-range air-to-air missiles.
5. Mikoyan Gurevich Ye-166 from Soviet Union
The development of the Ye-152 interceptors was suspended due to OKB’s focus on the Ye-155P (MiG-25P), but the last prototype was completed for high-speed research as the Ye-152M, which featured an R-15B-300 engine capable of producing an afterburning thrust of 22,509 lb (10210 kg).
On 7 October 1961, the Ye-166 aircraft established a new absolute speed record of 1,616 mph (Mach 2.1) on a closed circuit of 100 km (62 mi). It then surpassed its own record on 7 July 1962 by setting a new absolute speed record of 1,665 mph (Mach 2.17).
These achievements highlight the remarkable speed and technology of the Ye-152 series and its later variant, the Ye-152M. Despite the suspension of its development, the aircraft managed to set new speed records, proving its capabilities as a high-speed interceptor.
6. Bell X-2 Starbuster from United States
The Bell X-2 Starbuster, a rocket-wing aircraft designed in the 1940s and 1950s, was similar to the X-15 and primarily intended to investigate the “thermal thicket” heating issue caused by aerodynamic friction during flight characteristics in the Mach 2-3 region.
The X-2 was developed as a way to achieve useful research more quickly and at higher altitudes than the Bell X-1. Three years later, however, the X-15 started development and outpaced the X-2 in terms of speed, attaining a top speed of 2,094 mph (Mach 2.72).
Despite its few research flights, the X-2 supplied essential information and played an important part in developing aeronautical technology, resulting in the construction of faster and more modern aircraft.
7. XB-70 Valkyrie from United States
Developed as a prototype for the B-70 nuclear bomber, the North American XB-70 Valkyrie was a supersonic strategic bomber and the only bomber to ever reach such speeds. It was capable of traveling at 2,056 mph (Mach 2.67) while cruising at 21,000 m (70,000 ft).
Initially considered immune to any interceptor aircraft at these speeds and altitudes, it was believed that the B-70 would be too fast for any other aircraft to catch up to it and difficult for radars to detect.
However, as surface-to-air missile technology improved, the XB-70 was found to have a flaw, prompting the USAF to begin testing it at lower altitudes. Despite its high speed capabilities, it did not give a considerable performance advantage over the B-52, which it was designed to replace.
8. Lockheed YF-12 from United States
The Lockheed YF-12 was built in the late 1960s as a prototype interceptor to replace the F-106 Delta Dart. With a top speed of 2274 mph (Mach 2.96), it was the precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird.
However, the USAF decided to retire the YF-12 and allocate resources to the Vietnam War and other military objectives. It later served as a NASA research aircraft and ultimately as the prototype for the SR-71, which was produced and utilized by the USAF.
9. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 “Foxbat” from Soviet Union
The MiG-25 “Foxbat,” created by Mikhail Gurevich in collaboration with Mikoyan-Gurevich, was the last aircraft produced by the legendary Soviet super-engineer. The “Foxbat” was one of the world’s fastest aircraft, reaching 2,190 mph (Mach 2.85).
When the “Foxbat” appeared, NATO and US military intelligence were alarmed by the sight of the extremely fast and agile jet. As a result, both sides rapidly intensified their own jet design and production efforts to keep up with the Soviet Union. The MiG-25 remains one of the most powerful and widely manufactured planes of all time.
10. Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird from United States
The SR-71 Blackbird, which was a product of collaboration between the US Air Force and NASA, holds the title for being the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft in history, capable of reaching an impressive top speed of 2500 mph (Mach 3.25). It was developed primarily as a reconnaissance plane, with the primary goal of gathering intelligence.
Unlike the other US aircraft in the fleet, the SR-71 lacks stealth and does not carry any weapons. It relies instead on its ability to avoid approaching missiles and other sorts of attack, which it is more than capable of achieving.
In conclusion, the top 10 fastest plane in the world are a testament to human ingenuity and technological advancement. These planes were planned and manufactured to smash speed records and reach new levels of performance.
These planes, whether for military or commercial objectives, have transformed air travel and opened up new avenues for exploration and discovery. As technology advances, we can only speculate on what astounding feats of engineering and design the world’s fastest planes may achieve in the future.
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