General, Research, Technology

The fastest aircraft in the world and its competitors. How fast do they fly

Modern aircraft are capable of flying very fast. By "fast" I mean not speeds 10 times faster than a car, but really FAST. Even without afterburner, modern fighters can easily overcome the speed of sound. Passenger aviation has long flown at supersonic speeds. It was possible, but expensive, therefore (including) flights and stopped about 20 years ago. All this is good, but if you delve into history and archival documents, you can find several planes that flew not just at supersonic, but at hypersonic, that is, several times faster than the speed of sound. How is it even possible, what happened to them and do they exist now? After all, speed is important in everything these days, especially in combat. In addition, prompt delivery of cargo and passengers to anywhere in the world is important. So what's with the fastest plane in the world?

Such a design is unlikely to fly at a speed of several thousand kilometers per hour. This requires other characteristics.


  • 1 How fast do the fastest planes fly?
    • 1.1 General Dynamics F-111 - fast bomber
    • 1.2 McDonnell Douglas F-15 "Eagle" - the eagle of its time
    • 1.3 MiG-31 - more fun together
    • 1.4 MiG-25 - the bat
    • 1.5 SR-71 "Blackbird" - black bird
    • 1.6 North American X-15 - that's speed
    • 1.7 Orbital Sciences Corporation X-34 - is this speed even legal?
    • 1.8 Boeing X-43 is the fastest aircraft in the world

How fast do the fastest planes fly?

In fact, the list that we will discuss today does not include all aircraft that can develop tremendous speed. All due to the fact that some of them are secret, and the other often existed only on paper, or its samples cannot be considered finished products.

Despite this, I will tell you about sufficienta number of aircraft that are simply amazing and of great interest in terms of technology. As usual, let's arrange them in order of increasing speed, so that it really looks like a rating.

The race for speed has long ceased. Let modern planes like SU-57 and F-35 I can accelerate to several speeds of sound, but now radar invisibility is more important. And a few thousand kilometers per hour is a waste of fuel.

General Dynamics F-111 - fast bomber

This aircraft cannot be called anything outstanding within terms of speed. It barely surpassed the passenger Concorde (about which I have already written a large detailed article) and TU-144, which could reach speeds of about 2200-2400 kilometers per hour.

General Dynamics F-111. With its relatively classic design, it looks very unusual.

However, the Aardvark, as the F-111 was also called, could reach twice the speed of sound in flight. His maximum speed was 2 645 kilometers per hour... At that time, this was a good speed, which made it possible to successfully carry out many military operations.

Sound speed (sound wave propagation)strongly depends on the environment in which it is measured. The denser the medium, the higher the speed of sound. That is, at high altitudes and with thin air, it is lower than at the surface of the earth. For simplicity, it is assumed that the speed of sound is approximately 330 meters per second (approximately 1200 kilometers per hour). All this is very approximate, but for understanding the scale of values ​​this is enough

The first samples entered service with the 4480th US Tactical Fighter Squadron in October 1967. During the service, more than 10 aircraft were lost only according to official data.

The variable wing sweep allows supersonic aircraft to be effective at any speed.

In 1996, they were withdrawn from the United States Air Force, and forthis time they managed to take part in some operations of the Vietnam war, in Operation Eldorado Canyon (an attack on Gaddafi's residence in Libya), in Operation Desert Storm in Iraq, and other hostilities.

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McDonnell Douglas F-15 "Eagle" - the eagle of its time

This plane is considered to be a prominent representativeits time and fourth generation fighters. Such aircraft are called all-weather tactical fighters capable of gaining air superiority.

The plane entered service with the American armyback in 1976 and during his service he managed to take part in dozens of operations in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and even in Yugoslavia. The track record of the machine is huge, and how many times these planes took to the air to carry out secret combat missions or intercept unidentified air targets cannot be counted at all.

This plane hung on posters in the room of many boys 15 years ago. Me too.

In total, as many as 22 modifications of this aircraft were created, designed for different tasks. The aircraft's maximum speed is 2650 kilometers per hour.

MiG-31 - more fun together

This aircraft was originally designed as supersonic fighter-interceptor for flights in any weather. In the end, they did it. This is a long-range aircraft, which has several modifications for different conditions of use.

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It is noteworthy that this particular plane was the first toin the USSR with a fourth generation combat aircraft. The range of its application is very high. It is capable of intercepting any air targets at high, medium, low and extremely low altitudes. Even heat traps and artificially created radar interference shouldn't be a problem for him.

I would not like to meet such a car in the air.

The crew is two people. This car is capable of accelerating to 3000 kilometers per hour, which leaves no chance for the enemy aircraft. Of course, unless he goes further on our list.

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MiG-25 - a bat

The decision to design the MiG 25 was made aton the basis that the Soviet Union did not have an aircraft that could fly at very high altitudes and at very high speeds. Moreover, intelligence has come from overseas that the Americans are preparing new means of attack - the Valkyrie supersonic bomber, the Navajo missile and the A12 reconnaissance aircraft. Looking ahead, it turned out that Valkyrie is too expensive and it was abandoned, "Navajo" simply failed, and the A-12 later changed its index to SR-71, but also did not achieve much fame. However, we will return to it in this article.

This aircraft will forever remain in the history of aviation. Despite the fact that it still flies.

The MiG-25 was put into service in 1972 inmodifications of the MiG-25P (P-interceptor). It had 4 R-40 air-to-air missiles under its wings. A little later, the MiG-25R (R-reconnaissance) appeared. He had no weapons, except for two powerful cameras for surveying the area. Even later, a modification of the MiG-29RB (reconnaissance, bomber) appeared. He, in addition to reconnaissance, could carry bombs for dropping into enemy territory. Even the delivery of nuclear bombs was allowed.

The MiG-25R modification had no weapons. Instead, she had powerful cameras.

The characteristics of the aircraft were not assumedperforming aerobatics on it, but the pilots did it anyway, and the management even encouraged them. It was made, unlike other aircraft, not of aluminum, but of steel. This was the only way to effectively resist heating when rubbing against air at maximum speed. In general, the car could climb 22,500 meters and cover up to 2,000 kilometers. In total, about 1,000 MiG-25s of various modifications were produced. Its maximum speed was 3 300 kilometers per hour.

SR-71 "Blackbird" - black bird

This aircraft formally served as the reason for the creationMiG-25, but in itself was no less interesting. It is a strategic supersonic reconnaissance aircraft of the United States Air Force. He flew so damn fast for his time more than 3 700 kilometers per hour.

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The dry weight of the aircraft is 27 tons, andmaximum takeoff - 77 tons. This is not surprising, reading how much fuel he had to take on board. He flew very quickly and even violated the borders of the USSR several times. The command thought that such actions would go unpunished. As a result of one of these flights, he was shot down and the flights were stopped. Nobody wanted to give such a plane, albeit destroyed, to the enemy. It was too valuable information and very big risks for the opportunity to photograph the territory of the country near the border.

North American X-15 - that's speed

This plane accelerated to fantastic 7,300 kilometers per hour, but it cannot be called serial. It was an experimental aircraft. This type of machine is also called a "rocket plane". Its design uses no longer aircraft jet engines, but rocket engines.

More like a rocket, but it's still an airplane.

The X-15 was not designed for military action orintelligence, and to study the behavior of technology at hypersonic speed. He also helped carry out research on the withdrawal of winged vehicles into the upper atmosphere and back in. So far, this is the only aircraft that has completed a suborbital space flight with pilots and returned. In general, the ceiling of this "contraption" was a height of 107,000 meters. It was to this altitude that the North American X-15, piloted by Joseph Walker, a NASA test pilot and unofficial astronaut, climbed twice in 1963.

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Orbital Sciences Corporation X-34 - is this speed even legal?

We keep on growing and one morean airplane that looks more like a rocket, but formally is an airplane, since it adheres to its control principles and has wing wings. This aircraft no longer had pilots on board; it rose into the air “under the belly” of the carrier aircraft. But during tests in 2004, it accelerated to 11,000 kilometers per hour over the Pacific Ocean.

11,000 kilometers per hour? Spot!

It was originally planned that the device will be abledial 12,200 kilometers an hour, but failed. In terms of design, the aircraft itself is not very large and has a length of only 17.78 meters, and a wingspan of 8.85 meters. A solid propellant engine is responsible for the movement, on the production of which a quarter of a billion dollars were spent, and on testing - 7 years.

The plane cannot climb too high, although 75 kilometers is already more than an impressive figure.

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Boeing X-43 is the fastest aircraft in the world

This aircraft only slightly surpassed the results of the previous aircraft, but there should be only one winner. The Boeing X-43 has reached a speed that is about 9.5 times the speed of sound - 11,230 kilometers per hour... The project also cost a quarter of a billion dollars, but its implementation took 10 years.

Boeing X-43 is also a drone and whenit is not very big. The wingspan is only 1.5 meters and the length is only 3.6 meters. There is no need to talk about the practical application of such an aircraft. It was also created as a flying laboratory.

More like a paper airplane, but no ...

It is interesting that in its design there are no rubbingdetails. The fuel for it is a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen, which in its exhaust gives just water vapor. The plane had to show that such speeds are possible, and also that it is possible to use alternative fuels.

He also had to show that the times when an airplane can fly to anywhere in the world in 2-3 hours have almost come.

Which plane from our list is you the mostdid you like it? My favorite is the MiG-25. I especially like its angular, austere appearance. I'm even ready to write a separate article about him and maybe someday I will, but for now, express your opinion in the comments or in our Telegram chat.