Mach Number:

In the aircraft’s speed that is often measured by the measurement chart that has been called Mach number, Is the dimensionless quantity of the representing the ratio between the object’s speed and it was the speed of the light in the surrounding medium area. Based on the airspeed of an aircraft that has relative to the speed of the sound.

Mach Regime Speed (Mach Number)
Subsonic Less than 988 Km/h (<0.8)
Transonic 988–1,482 km/h (0.8-1.2)
Supersonic 1,482–6,174 km/h (1.2-5)
Hypersonic 6,174–12,350 km/h (5-10)
High-hypersonic 12,350–30,870 km/h (10-25)

10. Sukhoi SU-27

Initial Flight: 20 May 1977
Top Speed: 2,500 km/h or 1,600 mph

With the arrival of fourth-generation warplanes like the F-14 Tomcat and F-15 eagle, within the late 1960s and early 70s, the us gained a commendable technological superiority over the prevailing Soviet military aircraft.

As a counter, the Soviets launched the “Prospective Frontline Fighter” program to develop a highly agile fighter plane with Mach 2+ speed. The program concluded with MiG-29 and Su-27.

The Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO reporting name “Flanker”) is comparatively heavier and bigger of the 2 , while both are versatile; capable of performing different combat roles. The aircraft is described as supermaneuverable, the power to perform extreme tactical maneuvers that aren’t possible by simply adjusting the control surfaces, like flaps, rudder, and air-breaks.

At the altitude, the maximum of the airspeed of a Su-27 is the speed of 2,500 km/h (Mach number is 2.35).

9. McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II

Initial Flight: 27 May 1958
Recorded Top Speed: 2,585 km/h or 1,606.3 mph

The supersonic multirole aircraft F-4 Phantom II had been a cornerstone of the U.S soldiers for quite three decades between the 1960s to 1990s. The aircraft was initially developed to exchange the aging F3H Demon (carrier-based) fighters. However, thanks to the aircraft’s high adaptability, it had been quickly embraced by the U.S Air Force and therefore the United States Marine Corps .

The F-4 Phantom established the maximum amount as sixteen world air records, all during its initial service years. a number of them weren’t broken until the mid-1970s. On 22 November 1961, during Operation Skyburner, a modified F-4 Phantom II reached a record speed of two ,585 km/h.

Due to its large airframe and large firepower, the F-4s were heavier and fewer maneuverable than its Russian counterparts, like MiG-21. Nevertheless, that the aircraft has been used the extensively by the other countries and the wars.

8. McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

Initial Flight: 27 July 1972
Recorded Top Speed: 2,655 km/h or 1,650 mph

The F-15 may be a twin-engine, multirole combat aircraft developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing Defense) that entered service nearly five decades ago. When the plane was first introduced, the air force labeled it as “the first dedicated USAF air superiority fighter since the 1940s’ F-86 Sabre.”

The aircraft is powered by two afterburning turbofan engines producing 105.7 kN thrust and have a maximum achievable speed of two ,655 kilometers per hour (Mach 2.5).

The F-15s are a dominant force in skies, whether as an air-to-air fighter or a ground-attack aircraft (F-15E Strike Eagle).

While the USAF remains the most important operator of the F-15s, they’re an integral a part of the opposite air forces like the Royal Saudi Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (licensed variant), and therefore the Israeli Air Force.

7. Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-152/ Ye-166

Initial Flight: 21 April 1961
Recorded Top Speed: 2,681 km/h or 1,665 mph

The Ye-152 was an experimental heavy interceptor aircraft designed by the Mikoyan Gurevich Design Bureau within the late 1950s and early 60s. it had been a part of the Ye-150 family of aircraft. internet weight of a Ye-152 prototype aircraft was quite 12,300 kg, about 150 times that of its contemporary, MiG 21F (4,819 kg). it’s thanks to heavier avionics and armaments.

The aircraft featured a strong but unreliable single Tumansky R-15 turbojet (later utilized in MiG-25). Nevertheless, it allowed the aircraft to succeed in airspeeds of two ,681 kilometers per hour. However, the record administered by the Ye-152 is registered under a alias of Ye-166.

6. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 “Foxbat”

Initial Flight: 6 March 1964
Recorded Top Speed: 3,000 km/h (Mach 2.8)

In the very best altitude achieved on a MiG-25 (albeit modified) is 37,650 meters by a Soviet pilot in 1977.

After analyzing initial intelligence data on MiG-25, the Western Allies mistakenly believed it to be an agile fighter instead of an interceptor. It compelled the us to initiate their own air superiority fighter project designated as F-15 Eagle.

Despite the success of MiG-25, the Soviets were still without a supersonic interceptor that would engage Western fighters directly with adequate firepower. As a result, a replacement was introduced with additional capabilities but keeping the foremost critical aspects of the supersonic jet; speed and operational altitude.

The new model, designated as MiG-31 “Foxhound,” featured a number of the foremost advanced avionics and radar technology of its time. it’s an identical outer appearance and, most significantly , maximum speed to its predecessor.

5. Bell X-2 Starbuster

Initial Flight: 18 November 1955
Recorded Top Speed: 3,050 km/h or 1,900 mph (Mach 2.87)

The Bell X-2 was a search aircraft developed by Bell Aircraft together with the National Committee of Aeronautics (the predecessor of NASA) and therefore the U.S Air Force to explore and investigate flight qualities above Mach 2 speeds.

The X-2, nicknamed “Starbuster,” featured a swept-wing configuration and was driven by a strong single Curtiss-Wright XLR25 rocket producing 67 kN thrust.

On 23 July 1956, on his ninth and final X-2 test flight, Frank “Pete” Everest became the “fastest man alive” after achieving a record airspeed of three ,050 km/h at 20,764 m altitude. However, it had been not the fastest recorded speed on a Bell-X-2.

About the two months after the Everest’s record-setting the flight, on the date of 27 September 1956, pilot Milburn Apt on his first X-2 test flight reached Mach 3.1 speed or 3,369 km/h. it might are a spotless record if Apt had successfully made it back to the surface. Moments after reaching the utmost speed, Apt lost control of his jet, leading to a nosedive fall. Unable to release himself on time, Apt died soon after the aircraft has crashed on the Ground.

4. North American XB-70 Valkyrie

Initial Flight: 21 September 1964
Recorded Top Speed: 3,250 km/h or 2,020 mph (Mach 3.8)

In the mid-1950s, thanks to the rapidly evolving strategic needs, the U.S Air Forces started investigating potential bombers, or attack aircraft, that would carry heavy payloads (including nuclear missiles) at supersonic speeds over long distances.

The probe has been ended with a experimental of the aircraft in the North American XB-70, nicknamed ‘Valkyrie.’ Only two units of XB-70 were the ever produced. Both of them has the delta wing the arrangements and were the made of mostly of chrome steel and titanium. The aircraft was powered by the very most powerful six turbojet engines producing a thrust of 120 kilonewtons (with afterburner).

As an experimental aircraft, the XB-70 played an instrument in developing the late B-1 bomber and Tupolev Tu-144 programs.

3. Lockheed YF-12

Initial Flight: 7 August 1963
Recorded Top Speed: 3,331.5 km/h or 2,070.1 mph

YF-12 was a prototype interceptor aircraft developed by the Lockheed Corporation within the late 1950s and therefore the early 60s for the U.S Air Forces. The aircraft was supported Lockheed A-12, an experimental spy plane developed as a “black” project.

Unlike its precursor, the YF-12 was a two-seater aircraft and may carry a fireplace control radar along side multiple air-to-air missiles. the utmost airspeed achieved by the YF-12 on record is 3,331.5 km/h during a test flight on 1 May 1965, making YF-12 the fastest airplane within the world. However, it had been soon surpassed by SR-71, another highly advanced warplane supported Lockheed A-12.

The YF-12 still holds the records for the fastest and heaviest crewed interceptor so far .

2. Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird”

Initial Flight: 22 December 1964
Recorded Top Speed: 3,529.5 km/h

The fastest aircraft on earth so far made its initial flight quite fifty years ago. The backstory of why and the way SR-71 came into existence is quite intricate. the thought was to develop a reconnaissance aircraft which will operate without being detected by most radars and is quicker than the other existing airplanes at that point . Its design was administered by Lockheed’s Skunk Works, a complicated lab for military projects.

The SR-71 was an almost invincible asset for the U.S soldiers within the air thanks to its speed and skill to work at extremely high altitudes. the very best altitude achieved by an SR-71 was 25,929 m. At such height, most surface-to-air missiles, at that point , were ineffective.

Apart from its most popularized nickname, “Blackbird,” the SR-71 is occasionally known by other names like “Habu.” During its quite three decades of service, only 32 units of SR-71 were produced.

1. North American X-15

Initial Flight: 8 June 1959
Recorded Top Speed: 7,274 km/h or 4,520 mph (Mach 6.7)

On 3 October 1967, William “Pete” Knight, a U.S astronaut and pilot , shocked the planet after flying at a staggering speed of seven ,374 kilometers per hour, reaching on the brink of Mach 7. His record of the very best speed achieved by a crewed aircraft remains intact.

The aircraft on which he achieved such speeds was a part of the legendary X-plane series of high-speed experimental aircraft, designated North American X-15. Like most other X-planes, the X-15 was launched mid-air with the assistance of a ‘mothership.’

The aircraft has been initially powered by the modified XLR99 jet engine (that powered Bell X-1 flight), providing a thrust of the power 27 kN. it had been later replaced by a more powerful rocket with a thrust output of the power is 250 kN. The X-15 features a unique tail design (thick and wedged), which allowed it to take care of stability at hypersonic speeds.

NASA X-43 (Experimental)

Recorded Top Speed: Mach 9.6

While the X-15, at Mach 6.7, remains the fastest crewed aircraft to date, the bar is set much higher when it comes to unmanned flights. The fastest unmanned plane on record is X-43, an experimental aircraft developed to study the aerodynamics of hypersonic flights. It was part of NASA’s Hyper-X program started in the late-1990s.

After the failed first attempt to reach hypersonic speeds in 2001, the X-43 reached Mach 6.8 during its second test flight in March 2004. On its third and last flight, which took place on 16 November 2004, the airplane reached an astounding Mach 9.6 (10,240 km/h) airspeed. The aircraft, has been during the both successful flights, was launched from the B-52 Stratofortress at the high of 13,000 m altitude.

Initially, the Hyper-X program was scheduled to further tests but was eventually cut short due to the introduction of scramjet experimental aircraft designated as X-51 Waverider.

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