Top 15 Fastest Aircraft In The World | Of All Time

Supersonic aircraft is the solid masterpiece of military engineering. Over time, many different nations, agencies tried to materialize the concept of supersonic faster jets for their own needs. The flight engineers and scientist should not only concentrate on the engine quality or just basic aerodynamics, but also on aircraft materials. Even the minor mistake could cause the total failure of the whole project.

Often the speed of an aircraft is calculated by Mach number. It is a dimensionless quantity representing the ratio between the flow velocity past a boundary and the local speed of sound. This list also includes some experimental vehicle with unbelievable and unprecedented speed. Here is our Top 15 Fastest Aircraft in the World that travels faster than the speed of sound.

15. McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II

McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIWikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 General Electric J79-GE-17 A compressor turbojets

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a two-seated, highly capable supersonic jet interceptor aircraft initially developed for the United States Navy forces by McDonnell Aircraft company. The famous F-4 entered the U.S Navy service in 1960 after its successful test flight in 1958.  Soon, in the mid-60s, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force also followed the lead and adopted F-4 Phantom because of its high adaptability, and by the mid-1960s had become a major part of their respective air wings.

Phantom’s great thrust, fire radar-guided missiles, and high adaptability make it a hell of a fighter plane. The F-4 Phantom II has a Mach speed of 2.23 or 1,472 mph.

Read: 10 Most Powerful Aircraft Engines in the World

14. Sukhoi PAK FA T-50

Sukhoi PAK FA T-50Wikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 NPO Saturn izdeliye 117 (AL-41F1)

The PAK FA T-50“Prospective Airborne C(K)omplex of Frontline Aviation” is a modern fighter jet programme initiated by the Russian Air Force in 2010.  This aircraft is provided with all the modern techniques that a fighter jet should have. Jointly manufactured by KnAAPO and NAPO and Sukhoi designed T-50 is the first operational aircraft in Russian service to use stealth technology. The PAK FA is intended to be the successor to the MiG and Su-27 in the Russian Air Force. Since 2009-2010, only 5 prototypes were built. The new Sukhoi product has a maximum speed of 1,520 mph or Mach 2.3 in higher altitude.

13. Sukhoi SU-27

Sukhoi SU-27Wikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 Saturn/Lyulka AL-31F turbofans

The Sukhoi Su-27, NATO reporting name Flanker, is a twin-engine super-maneuverable fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi. It was initiated with the intention of competing with larger United States fourth-generation flights such as the Grumman F-14 and F-15 Eagle The Sukhoi Su-27 was designed for air superiority missions, as it proved to be dominant in the sky. At sea level, it has a speed of 870mph, while at much higher altitude, it can reach up to 1,550 mph.

12. F-111 Aardvark

F-111 AardvarkWikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-100 turbofans

The Aardvark F-111 is a tactical strike aircraft manufactured by General Dynamics in 1960. It is used in the United States air force and Royal Australian air force. It has the features of a strategic bomber and electronic warfare in many versions. It can carry one 20 mm cannon and up to 24 nuclear weapons and has a peak flying speed of 1650 miles per hour.

11. McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

McDonnell Douglas F-15 EagleWikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100, 220 turbofans

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is a tactical fighter aircraft. The F-15 is considered among the most elite fighter aircraft in the world. It was first tested on 27th July 1997 and in use by major Air Force in the world. It features variable sweep wings, weights over 27,000 kg and has the super-fast speed of 1650+ miles per hour. It can climb up to 10,000 meters in just 10 seconds.

10. Mikoyan Ye-152

Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-150 familyMikoyan-Gurevich Ye-150 family

Engine: 1 Tumansky R-15-300 turbojet

Originated in The Soviet Union, the YE-152 was a part of a series of prototype single-seat fighter planes Ye-150, built in 1955 by Mikoyan Gurevich. The Ye-152 had a single engine, generating the total thrust of 66.7 Kn (dry thrust) and 99.6 KN with (afterburner). The maximum speed of Ye-152 is 1,860 mph,.

9. MiG-31 FoxHound

MiG-31 FoxHoundWikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 Soloviev D-30F6 turbofans

The Mikoyan MiG-31 FoxHound is a twin-engine supersonic interceptor aircraft, built in 1975 and primarily used by Russian Air Force. This is one of the advanced fighter jets in the world earning the name of Superdog fighter. MiG-31 is capable of flying at the speed of 1860 mph at high latitudes. It also has a long combat radius of 1,450km. The production ended in 1994 and only 400-500 units are built. The MiG-31 is still in service with the Russian and Kazakhstan Air Forces.

8. XB-70 Valkyrie

XB-70 ValkyrieWikipedia Commons

Engine: 6 General Electric YJ93-GE-3 afterburning turbojets

The XB-70 Valkyrie is the prototype version of B-70 designed by North American Aviation in 1964. Played an important role in the USAF as a strategic bomber and as a research aircraft in NASA’s various programs. Only two of those were built with a per unit cost of US$ 750million. The aircraft also had a huge fuel and armament capacity to engage with distant places. The maximum speed recorded of XB-70 Valkyrie is Mach 3.1 or 2056 miles per hour.

7. Bell X-2 Starbuster

Bell X-2 StarbusterWikipedia Commons

Engine: 1 Curtiss-Wright XLR25 rocket engine

The Bell X-2 “Starbuster” was a part of X-plane research aircraft developed in 1945 by Bell aircraft corporation, US air force and the national advisory committee for aeronautics. The main objective of this program was to research flight characteristics in the Mach 2-3 range. Only two aircraft were built since it was abandoned in 1956, a year after. It recorded the maximum speed of 2094 miles per hour.

Read: 13 Most Powerful Gunship in the World

6. MiG-25 Foxbat

MiG-25 FoxbatWikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 Tumansky R-15B-300 afterburning turbojets

The Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-25 or Foxbat (NATO reporting name) is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft designed by the Soviet Union’s Mikoyan Gurevich OKB in 1964. It featured automatic control system, heat radar, and radio guidance system.

Due to its very high speed of over 2170 mph and high tech systems, western intelligence misread the aircraft as an air- combat fighter rather than an interceptor. This event forced the United States to initiate the McDonnell Douglas F15 program. MiG-25 is the second fastest flying military aircraft after the SR-71 aircraft.

5. Lockheed YF-12

lockheed YF-12Wikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 Pratt and Whitney J58/JTD11D-20A turbojets

American prototype interceptor aircraft the Lockheed YF-12 was a research aircraft used by the USAF and NASA. During several flight tests, the YF-12A set a speed record of 2,070.101 mph (3,331.505 km/h) and a highest altitude record of 80,257.86 ft. It also holds the title of the world largest manned interceptor to the date.

4. Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Lockheed SR-71 BlackbirdWikipedia Commons

Engine: 2 Pratt & Whitney J58 turbojets

The SR-71 Blackbird was a strategic reconnaissance aircraft manufactured by Lockheed and Skunk work division in 1964. It served both the United States Air Force and NASA from 1964 to 1998. During this period, only 32 SR-71 was built with basic stealth characteristics and other special features. The Lockheed SR-71 was powered by J58 engines, it was capable of producing a static thrust of 32,500 pound-force (145 kN). The highest speed of the aircraft was recorded at 2200+ mph.

 3. X-15

X-15_1Wikipedia Commons

Engine: 1 Reaction Motors XLR11, XLR99

The North American X-15 was a hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft manufactured by North American Aviation in 1959 and was operated by the Unites States air force up till 1968. Initially, the X15 used the XLR11 liquid propellant engines, but at the later stage, it was replaced by the XLR99 model for higher thrust. The X-15 still holds the official world record for the highest speed ever reached by any manned aircraft i.e. 4,520 miles per hour.

Read: 14 Unique Early Experimental Flying Planes

2. NASA X-43

NASA X-43_1Wikipedia Commons

Engine: Supersonic-combustion ramjet or scramjet

The X-43 was a part of NASA’s Hyper-X program. The Hyper-x program was scheduled to be conducted over three phases, but it was eventually cut short because of the introduction of X-51 as a replacement. The X-43A was a manned test vehicle measuring just over 3.7 m in length. One of the distinct features of this plane was that unlike rockets, the X-43 uses hydrogen as a fuel. During the third test of X-43A, on November 16, 2004, it achieved a new record of 6,598 miles per hour (10,617 km/h).

1. Falcon HTV-2

Falcon HTV-2Wikipedia Commons

Read: 15 Most Secret and Experimental Military Aircraft

The Hypersonic technology vehicle 2 was an experimental rocket glider developed by the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) under the Falcon (Force Application and launch from CONtinental) project. It’s made up of tough and lightweight materials with high lift to drag ratio and having an automatic navigation system since it is an unmanned craft. It was capable of flying at the speed of 13,000 miles per hour (21,000 km/h).

The HTV-2 was first launched on 22 April 2010, it was scheduled to cover approx. 7,700km across the Pacific to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), located about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Unfortunately, the vehicle lost contact with the base in 9 minutes after launch.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional science and technology journalist and a big fan of AI, machines, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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  • The photo for the X-2 (#6) is of one of the X-1 variations; I think its the E version but would need to check. Even the caption mentioned swept wings which should have tipped off the photo editor.

    • Usane Bolt can run the fastest 100m the fastest human over 100m sadly he has not much manouvering ability same goes with fastest aircrafts in a straight line ,have you seen vehicles run down a drag strip, once seen it becomes boring monouverability has a more important role but more importantly not getting into any fighting situation would be wiser.