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Date: 2022-01-27 Page is: DBtxt001.php L0700-ET-VA-Fast-military-aircraft

A century of amazing technological progress !

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The technological progress that has been achieved over the years is amazing. Much of the progress has taken place in the military arena rather than civilian. A big part of this is because the military have been well funded compared to civilian initiatives. It is positive that some of the technology developed for military purposes eventually becomes available for civilian use ... but it is relatively small and slow and expensive. There ought to be a better way! My interest in aerospace technology started with the Gloster Meteor (#30 below) and has continued ever since. I have been fortunate empough to witness 'space' engineering with a shuttle lift-off at Cape Kennedy in Florida and an Arianne launch from Cayenne in Guyanne Francais

Some of The Fastest Aircraft In The World
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#11 F-16-Viper.jpg Military-fighters-F-16-Viper.jpg #10. Boeing F-18 E / F / G Military-fighters-Boeing-F-18-E-F-G.jpg #9 Eurofighter Typhoon Military-fighters-Eurofighter-Typhoon.jpg #8. SAAB Gripen Military-fighters-SAAB-Gripen.jpg

1. NASA Space Shuttle 17,500mph
The ultimate hypersonic aircraft on the planet has to be the Space Transportation System, or STS, also known simply as the Space Shuttle. While technically it’s designed for space travel, it still is one of the fastest aircraft on Earth. Upon leaving the Earth’s orbit, scientists believe that the STS is traveling at an estimated 17,500mph.
Astronaut Joe Engle piloted the fastest manually controlled flight in the atmosphere during atmospheric reentry back in 1981 where he was said to reach close to the 17,500mph listed as the record. That just seems too fast to even be a real number.

2. Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 Cont’d 13,000mph
This is another bit of technology that is still in the development stages, but what it’s done already is something straight out of a science fiction movie. It’s called the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 or HTV-2 and has also been referred to as X-41. The HTV-2 is also an unmanned aircraft that requires a boost for lack of better words in order to get it going. But once it gets going, it’s capable of reaching speeds upwards of Mach 20 or roughly 13,000mph.
The idea behind this technology is that it would technically give the United States the capability of producing a missile strike, anywhere in the world in under an hour. At the speeds this aircraft is capable of it could travel from Sydney to London, which is roughly 17,000km or just over 10,000 miles, in just 49 minutes. However, both test flights ended prematurely so they still got a little more work to do.

3. X43A Scramjet 7,500mph
The X-43A attached to the B-52B which carries it up to altitude. The X-43A Scramjet is currently listed as the fastest aircraft on record with a mind-blowing top speed around 7,500mph. It’s an unmanned experimental vehicle that was designed for hight altitude hypersonic travel. The X-43A required a mothership to carry it up to 30,000 feet or so and then it would release it.
The “scramjet” aspect fo the jet only works at speeds above 3,400mph which meant that engineers had to use other forms of propulsion to reach that speed before engaging the scramjet, for that they used a high-speed Pegasus Rocket. Only three examples of this vehicle were built and intended for one use only. The scramjet would only fire for 10 seconds and then the aircraft would glide for about 10 minutes before intentionally crashing into the ocean.
4. X-15 4,520mph
We’ve now reached the “hypersonic” aircraft section of the list with speeds almost incomprehensible. North American Aviation combined with the U.S. Air Force produced the X-15 Rocket that made its first flight in 1959 and could reach 4,520mph, a record for a manned aircraft that was set in 1967 by William J. Knight. Here we are almost 50 years later and that record is still untouched even with advancements in technology. Only three of these aircraft were made and they made a total of 199 flights before retiring in late 1968.

5. Boeing X-51 3,400mph
This is another very interesting aircraft that is actually still under development. Built by the Boeing corporation, the X-51 is a pilotless aircraft which is sort of difficult to wrap your head around, especially considering it has a current top speed of about 3,400mph, or about Mach 4.5.
That could potentially go up as further development comes along. It was taken up to 50,000 feet using a B-52 where it was released and then the 25 foot long aircraft proceeded to reach this record speed for roughly 5 minutes, during which it had traveled over 230 miles.

6. SR-71 Blackbird 2,193mph
Whether you’re a fan of high-speed aircraft or not, you’ve heard of the famous SR-71 Blackbird. Considered to be a reconnaissance aircraft or “spy plane” because it could fly so high and so fast that it was extremely difficult to detect. Originally designed back in the early ’60s, it made its first flight in 1964 and then put into service two years later where it remained until retiring in 1999.
The Blackbird still holds the record for fastest air-breathing manned aircraft with a top speed of 2,193mph. It was so fast that while on a mission if the SR-71 happened to get detected and a ground to air missile was fired, the only evasive action the pilot needed to take was hit the throttle and just outrun the missile.

7. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat 2,190mph
The MiG-25 was one of the few jets to be built primarily out of stainless steel. With an estimated value of $18 million it’s not nearly as much as some others on this list, even though it does have a top speed of 2,190mph. Its main intended use was as a reconnaissance aircraft, but with incredible maneuverability, it was also deadly as a fighter also.
Even though technically it was deployed in 1970, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat is still currently in use today and is still considered to be one of the fastest planes to enter operational military service. Designed by the Soviet Union back in the early ’60s, the MiG-25 had its first flight in 1964.
8. Bell X-2 Starbuster 2,094mph
This aircraft and the program it represented came to an unfortunate and unexpected end when on what would be its final flight the test pilot pushed it up over Mach 3 and while attempting to make a turn the plane spun out of control and crashed. It was designed to investigate aerodynamics of supersonic flight and was the first manned aircraft to reach Mach 3 with a top speed of 2,094mph.

9. XB-70 Valkyrie 2,000mph
The XB-70 Valkyrie is a very interesting plane, to say the least. It was a prototype built in 1964 that featured six engines that could push it to a record 2,000mph while traveling at a mind-boggling altitude of 70,000 feet. Because of this extreme altitude, the Valkyrie was virtually immune to interceptor aircraft.
It was designed for use as a deep penetration strategic bomber that also happened to be armed with a nuclear weapon. Luckily it never was used for its intended purpose but the United States government was willing to pay a lot of money to be prepared for it if they did.
10. Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound 1,860mph
Arguably one of the overall fastest combat jets in the entire world would be the Mikoyan MiG-31 with a top speed of 1,860mph. It was produced by the Russian military and made its debut in 1975 and is still currently being used by the Russian and Kazakhstan military. Because of its speed and reliability, the Russian Defense Ministry is confident that the MiG-31 will remain in service until at least 2030.
11. Mikoyan Ye-152 1,666mph
One of the more unique looking aircraft to make this list would be the Mikoyan Ye-152 built by the Soviet Union. Although it doesn’t matter how it looks, it was extremely powerful. It was actually the fastest and most powerful single engine plane the Soviets ever made with a top speed of 1,666mph. It was technically an experimental aircraft that would lead to major developments in Soviet technology that eventually lead to more advanced models.

12. F-15 Eagle 1,650mph
The F-15 Eagle might be one of the most recognizable military aircraft in the entire world, not to mention the most successful overall. Originally designed in 1967 the F-15 made its debut flight in 1972 and then was officially deployed in 1976.
It’s been so successful that it remains in service still to this day and is expected to continue until 2025 and is also used by Isreal, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. The estimated value of the F-15 is estimated to be right under $28 million and the top speed is 1,650mph.
14. F-4 Phantom 1,607mph
The F-4 Phantom saw most of its flight time during the Vietnam war where it was considered to be a superior bomber. But it also achieved the most air to air victories during the war. It was used by both the United States Air Force and Navy. The overall value of the Phantom was estimated to be just over $18 million when it was released in 1958. It was known for being extremely reliable, not to mention incredibly fast with a top speed of 1,607mph.
15. Convair F-106 1,526mph
At an estimated cost of $25 million, the Convair F-106 was the primary jet used by the United States Air Force during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. It was also the fastest single-engined production aircraft with a top speed of 1,526mph. It was the last of the Interceptor aircraft used by the U.S. Although when they were phased out in the late ’80s many were converted to be used as unmanned drones which lasted through the ’90s.

16. F-22 Raptor 1,498mph
The F-22 is a stealth fighter jet and is one of the most maneuverable and fastest of it’s kind. Like many other aircraft on this list, the Raptor is built by Lockheed Martin and was first introduced back in December of 2005. It’s listed with an overall top speed of 1,498mph, but its real claim to fame is the high level of technology and stealth capabilities that make it one of the deadliest fighter planes on Earth.
With a total of more than $66.7 billion spent on the entire F-22 project with each unit costing well over $150 million, the Raptor is also one of the more expensive planes as well. But like the old saying goes, you get what you pay for and when you’re talking about protecting the American people, nothing is too expensive.
17. F-104 Starfighter 1,404mph
F-104 Starfighter during refueling ... The F-104 Starfighter built for the United States Air Force by Lockheed in 1954. It was the first aircraft to hold concurrent records for both highest flight, shortest time to altitude, as well as overall velocity with a mind blowing 1,404mph. It specialized in high altitude fighter bombing missions but could also be used as an interceptor although it didn’t see much action in that regard.

18. BAC Concorde 1,354mph Cont’d
It was incredibly expensive to get one of the 128 seats on board the legendary Concorde, but it was by far the fastest way to get from one place to the next. The Concorde only lasted until 2003 when British Airways and Air France simultaneously announced its retirement due to high costs and low interest.
The fastest commercial jet ever produced was the BAC Concorde with a staggering 1,354mph top speed. It’s first flight dated back to March of 1969, but it wasn’t officially introduced until January of 1976. It was most commonly used for supersonic flights over the Atlantic back and forth between London and New York City that lasted just 3hrs and 30 minutes which is less than half the normal flight time.
19. F-35 Lightning II 1,200mph
The F-35 Lightning II is actually a fifth generation combat aircraft that’s intended for use in any weather and still provide some stealth capabilities. Built by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 is a single seat, single engine aircraft that can perform both air and ground attacks. It has a top speed of 1,200mph so if it needs to involve supersonic high speeds it definitely can. It came in three different model types which differentiated by the type of take-off required.
20. Fairey Delta 2 1,132mph
One of the first aircraft to travel at over 1,000mph was the Brittish built experimental vehicle known as the Fairey Delta 2. Just by looking at that long pointed nose you knew this was not your everyday jet. The overall top speed of the jet was 1,132mph which held the World Air Speed record for over a year. Variations of the wing design would later be used in now famous Concorde commercial airliner.
21. F4D Skyray 753mph
The F4D Skyray was the first U.S. Navy aircraft that could go supersonic without the need of doing a dive. Not only did it set an official world speed record of 753mph, but it was also capable of landing and taking off from an aircraft carrier. The early ’50s brought a whole new level of speed from these high-powered aircraft, 1953 especially because the Skyray set its record that year also.
22. Hawker Hunter 728mph
When the Hawker Hunter made its debut flight, it was the fastest British Produced aircraft with a top speed of 728mph. It set numerous records over the course of this career after its debut flight in 1951. However, it wasn’t deployed for use until 1956. The main record set by the Hawker was when it reached 727.9mph on a level flight in 1953. Even though it was British built, the Hawker was used by militaries all over the world in a total of 19 countries.
23. F-86D Sabre 716mph
The F-86D Sabre was a jet that made its debut in 1947 for the United States with an estimated cost of $219,500. Now that’s a considerable amount of money for that time period which would equate to millions in today’s times. But as you’ll see as this list goes on high cost is a common thing when dealing with these speeds. While in a dive the F-86D Sabre was able to reach speeds of 716mph in 1953.
24. Me-163 Komet 702mph
This rocket-powered German aircraft made its first flight way back in 1943 and then was deployed the following year for battle. It had an impressive top speed of 702mph for the time, but it was fairly limited on the overall range with just 60 miles available. Its primary function was as an interceptor because it was maneuverable and lightning fast for short periods of time.
25. Bell X-1 670mph
The Bell X-1 was a very important aircraft in the sense that it laid the foundation for supersonic travel in the future. Its first flight was held in January of 1946. Famous test pilot Chuck Yeager was the one who first piloted the X-1 up to the speed of sound, and unofficially up around the 1,000mph mark. It also could fly at altitudes up over 70,000 feet which must’ve been quite scary at the time considering it wasn’t a common thing in any way.
26. D-558-1 Skystreak 651mph
The Douglas Aircraft company designed the D-558-1 back in 1940’s as a single seater, single engine, research aircraft. It was a joint effort with the Bureau of Aeronautics department of the United States Navy along with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. This was the beginning of a program that would eventually add in rocket propulsion to almost double the top speed of the D-558-1 which was around 651mph.

27. B-2 Spirit
More commonly referred to as the Stealth Bomber, the B-2 Spirit was developed by the Northrop company to be what they call a penetration strategic bomber. Its claim to fame was its technologically advanced stealth technology that was virtually undetected by standard forms of radar.
The B-2 Spirit is also one of the only aircraft that has the capability to carry large air to surface standoff weapons while in a stealth configuration making it incredibly deadly if the situation called for it. Top speed on this iconic plane was said to be right around 630mph and valued at a staggering $2.1 billion each!
28. Lockheed P-80 624mph
The P-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter that was used operationally by the United States Air Force. Built and designed by the Lockheed company starting in 1943 and the entire process was completed with the aircraft ready for delivery just 143 days later before making its first flight in January of 1944. It was technically flying by before the end of WWII, however, it wasn’t ready for service. It was later used in the Korean War as the F-80. Top speed on the P-80 was claimed to be 624mph when pushed to the limits but often operated at slower speeds.

29. F-117 Nighthawk 617mph
This is the super secretive F-117 Nighthawk that was built by Lockheed and developed by the Skunk Works division that was directly tied to the United States Air Force. The first flight was back in June of 1981 making it the first operational aircraft that was designed using new secret stealth technology. It wasn’t until 1988 that the F-117 was introduced to the public.
The F-117 played a major role in the Persian Gulf War starting in the early ’90s as a fighter jet and quickly earned the nickname “Stealth Fighter” and remained a key weapon for the USAF until it was retired in 2008. Top speed was clocked at 617mph and valued at just under $43 million each. It may not be the fastest jet out there, but it sure is one of the coolest looking.
30. Gloster Meteor 606mph
The only jet aircraft the Allies had available during World War II was the British made Gloster Meteor and its groundbreaking turbojet engines. built by Power Jets Ltd. and pioneered by Sir Frank Whittle starting in 1940. It made its debut flight March of 1943 and commenced operations July of 1944. By no means was this an incredibly advanced and sophisticated aircraft, it even earned the nickname “meatbox”. However, it still managed to have a successful career as a fighter plane. It also set the first official air speed record with 606mph.
31. Dassault Falcon 7x 615mph
One of the fastest private jets on the market is the Falcon 7x built by Dassault Aviation thanks to its “trijet” system of three jet engines. The 7x made its debut flight back in May of 2005 at the Paris Air Show. It has a very long range and can seat as many as 20 people plus two pilots so you can take the whole extended family with you when flying at upwards of 615mph. The 7x even set a speed record flying from New York to London in just under 6 hrs.

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