Aviation is one of the most exciting worlds for those who love technology. Because it is an industry of vital importance for governments around the world, investment is heavy and the evolution of products, in this case, aircraft, happens very quickly and consistently, whether in the military or commercial field.
And those who think that technology is present only in aircraft safety mechanisms are mistaken. To reach super speeds, it is necessary, besides engineering, a good pinch of technology to make the planes surpass expressive marks, such as the speed of sound, known as Mach 1.
This is the top 10 list with the fastest and most advanced aircraft ever made on the planet, the options were restricted to military models, more precisely on fighter planes, which easily surpass 2,000 km/h. But despite such great speed, each one has its peculiarity and function in a combat exercise.
10 – Sukhoi Su-27
Developed by the Soviet Union in 1977, the Sukhoi Su-27 is a Russian twin-engine fighter with extreme maneuverability and is considered to be the main rival of the American F-15 Eagle for its lightweight and ability to defend against other aircraft.
It is considered one of the best warplanes of the former Soviet Union, with its design and technologies carried forward for a few more generations. Its differential, besides its lightness, was the presence of the Fly-By-Wire system, present in many commercial airplanes.
Maximum Speed: 2.500 km/h
9 – McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
Considered by many to be one of the best fighters of all time, the F-15 Eagle is distinguished by its acceleration, high maneuverability, and focus on fighting other aircraft, just like its direct competitor, the Russian Sukhoi Su-27. In addition, it is capable of operating in any thermal or climatic conditions.
Active since 1978, the F-15 Eagle is still produced by Boeing, which acquired McDonnel Douglas in 1997. Currently, the USA, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore use the fighter, which is equipped with state-of-the-art short and medium-range weaponry.
Maximum Speed: 2,655 km/h
8 – General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
Manufactured by the American General Dynamic, the F-111 Aardvark is one of the most iconic fighter bombers in the history of world aviation. Although it does not exceed 3,000 km/h, its precision and agility were of enormous importance in several missions of the United States Air Force.
Debuting in 1964, the F-111 served until the mid-1990s, being discontinued in 1998. It was capable of carrying over 14 tons of bombs and firing over 2,000 machine gun rounds. A total of 563 units were manufactured.
Maximum Speed: 2,655 km/h
7 – Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31
To this day used by the Russian and Kazakh Air Forces, the MiG-31 is an evolution of the also Soviet MiG-25. Although less fast than its brother, it has more advanced technologies, such as enemy detection radar with a range of 400 kilometers.
In service since 1975, it is equipped with long and medium-range missiles, machine guns, a cannon, an active interceptor, and an approach alert. Although still in service, production of the MiG-31 was halted in 1994.
Maximum Speed: 3,000 km/h
6 – North American XB-70 Valkyrie
Never having entered continuous production, the XB-70 Valkyrie is a strategic bomber designed to operate at high altitudes. With this need, its speed could easily exceed 3,000 km/h (2,000 mph), already detected in its first official flight, in 1964.
Much larger than a fighter jet, the XB-70 drew attention for its size and warlike capability. And precisely because of this, its production costs were beyond the U.S. Air Force’s means, and the U.S. Air Force was forced to discontinue the project after only a few years.
Maximum Speed: 3.309 km/h
5 – Bell X-2
Another experimental aircraft, the Bell X-2 is one of the few non-military aircraft to exceed 3,000 km/h, but it was of fundamental importance to the development of super fighters and other high-performance aircraft. Its mission began in 1952, with the idea of testing flight conditions at supersonic speeds.
Manufactured by Bell Aircraft Corporation in partnership with the United States Air Force, the Bell X-2 never went into mass production and was never used in any other type of exercise. There are no direct successors registered either.
Maximum Speed: 3.370 km/h
4 – Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25
Still, active, the MiG-25 is considered one of the fastest planes of today. Developed in 1964 by the Soviet Union, the distinguishing feature of this aircraft is its alarm and warning system, as well as its ability to intercept enemy jets or fighters with precision and agility.
In addition to all this performance, the MiG 25 is equipped with four missiles, two infrared and two radar-guided. Countries such as Algeria and Syria are among the current owners of these aircraft.
Maximum Speed: 3,494 km/h
3 – Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
One of the most beautiful military aircraft of all time, the SR-71 is an aircraft focused on reconnaissance and strategy. Manufactured by Lockheed, this plane was colossal and, although not exactly designed for combat, was never shot down on any mission under the command of the United States Air Force.
A little different from its predecessors, the SR-71 was larger, carried more fuel, and had two cockpits, the front one for the pilot and the rear one for the military responsible for performing reconnaissance tasks.
A total of 32 units of the SR-71 Blackbird were produced, named after its black fuselage, which was necessary to maintain thermal variations.
Maximum Speed: 3.529 km/h
2 – Lockheed YF-12
Unlike the SR-71, the YF-12, another of the fine examples on this list, is more combat-oriented, with an interception as its main characteristic. However, the high operational cost caused it to be discontinued soon after its inception, with only three units being produced.
One of the YF-12’s most advanced technologies was the Doppler radar, which aided in enemy detection. In addition, the aircraft had NA/ASF-18 firing control and three GAR-9 (later renamed AIM-47) radar-guided air-to-air missiles.
1 – North American X-15
The North American X-15 was an experimental aircraft, but it did a lot of work while in use by NASA and the United States Air Force. It was designed for testing at hypersonic speeds and altitudes exceeding 100 kilometers, thus earning the pilot or astronaut nickname.
Its takeoff, however, was non-existent. To start it up, it was necessary for a bomber to put it in the air, and then the XLR-99 rocket engines would be activated and the X-15 would begin its flight.
One of the curiosities about this plane is that it had a direct contribution in NASA’s Apollo program, which culminated in man going to the moon. This happened because, as we mentioned, the X-15 had the ability to fly at extremely high altitudes and brought important information about how the maneuvers were done in these conditions.
Its fuselage, by the way, was extremely resistant to all kinds of thermal conditions.
Maximum Speed: 7,273 km/h