Most aviation enthusiasts may find the richness and magnificence of the fastest fighter jets to be the stuff of extravagant dreams.
Fighter jets or military aircraft are mainly made to fight during a war and maintain control of maintaining space. Fighters of equivalent ability or bombers carrying defensive armament may make up the opposition. For such goals, soldiers must be at their peak performance level to outfly and outmaneuver adversaries. They must, above all, be equipped with sophisticated armaments that can strike and take down hostile aircraft.
Speed is essential for fighter jet survival. There may be severe repercussions if your ship doesn’t move as quickly as the enemies. Given this fundamental knowledge, jet developers constantly compete to produce the fastest fighting plane conceivable.
But do you know about the Fastest Fighter Jets? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back!
Below is a list of the top 10 historically fastest fighter jets. Since speed is a significant concern, we have listed them according to it. To identify the quickest fighter jets, we conducted a thorough study process. Stay with us to the end!
Let’s get started!
Top Ranking Fastest Fighter Jets in History
Each navy and air force recognizes the importance of speed.
It is simply a fact!
Time is of the essence when attempting to scramble your defending aircraft, and speed is a crucial component. The development of fighter aircraft to the stage where they have bumblebee-like radar cross sections was a long and tortuous journey for human engineering. These are the quickest examples of the fastest fighter jets that are currently in use with the fastest speed.
Mikoyan MIG-31 Foxhound
Maximum Speed at Altitude: 1,900 mph, 1,600 km, 3,000 km/h, and M2.83
Maximum Range: 1,900 miles, 1,600 miles, or 3,000 km/h
In 1977, the MIG-31 shocked everyone by reaching a brand-new altitudes milestone of 123,530 feet. At the same time, he broke the previous record for the greatest height attained in the shortest amount of time, ascending 115,000 ft in just 4:11:78.
Due to its outstanding performance, the Soviet Union chose aircraft MIG-31 Mikoyan as its top fighter jet at the time. Additionally, it was the first jet capable of detecting and intercepting stealth fighters using radar.
As a result, the MIG-31’s development signaled the beginning of a new round of air supremacy battles between the Soviet Union and NATO. This aircraft could launch long-range, radar-guided missiles, hold onto both essential and stealth craft, stay in the air for extended periods, and ascend quickly.
Even in the air battles of today, those qualities are still helpful. Up to 2030, the Russian MIG-31 is anticipated to be in use.
Mikoyan MiG-25 Foxbat
Maximum Speed at Altitude: 1,900 mph, 1,600 km, 3,000 km/h, and M2.83
Maximum Range: 2,575 km/1,000 mi/1,160 km
The Soviet Union was developing the MiG-25 Foxbat while NATO’s F-4 Phantom II started flapping its wings to become the most lethal air combatant in the world.
As you might expect, the Foxbat was built for super speed and maneuverability. In 1964, when the MiG-25 first flew, you could have lifted NATO’s jaws off the ground. The F-4 was unquestionably king of the skies at the moment, yet it had fallen short.
None of the two fighter jets appeared superior to the other as they engaged in head-to-head combat over Northern Vietnam. An absolute engineering marvel, the MiG-25 offers outstanding performance at a reasonable price.
Even though most of the MiG-25s have been modified into the MiG-31, they are still in use today.
1,687 mph, 1,466 knots, and Mach 2.2 at altitudes are the top speeds.
Maximum Range: 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers)
NATO affectionately refers to the Chengdu J-10, a Chinese multi-role fighter aircraft, as the Firebird. Being the quickest combat aircraft in the world, the Firebird plays a significant role in the People’s Liberation Air Force. Chengdu Aircraft Corporation created it and produced it (CAC).
After its debut test flight in 1998, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force put the J-10 into operation in 2003. The CAC initially intended the J-10 to be a specialized fighter. However, the J-10 was transformed into a multi-role aircraft after the initial trials and design modifications.
Even though China produced just 350 Chengdu J-10 jet fighters, they continue to be the quickest and most well-liked in China.
General Dynamics F-111
1,650 mph, 1,434 km, 2,656 km/h, and M2.5 at altitude are the top speeds.
Maximum Range: 3,690 miles (4,210 kilometres),
The American military frequently uses the aircraft’s name, “Aardvark,” which translates to “earth pig” in Afrikaans, commonly used by the American army. Though it can only travel at a top speed of 1650 mph, the F-111 is unquestionably no slouch in terms of performance.
The variable-sweep wings are one of the F-111 Aardvark’s most distinctive features. Variable wings enable heavier payloads to be carried at higher speeds and more maneuverability while maintaining the capability to take off or land on relatively short runways.
The U.S. Air Force used the F-111 until 1998 after it was first launched in 1967. The United States Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force flew the Aardvark. In 2010, the latter eventually grounded the aircraft.
McDonnell Douglas F-15
1,650 mph, 1,434 km, 2,655 km/h, and M2.5 at altitude are the top speeds.
Maximum Range: 3,500 miles (5,600 kilometres)
Since 1972, the F-15 is still being produced today. One of the best-built combat jets ever is the F-15 Eagle. It boasts almost 100 victories to its credit and no losses, most of which were achieved first by the Israeli Air Force. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Japan have all purchased F-15 aircraft developed and manufactured in the United States.
The F-15 was initially only intended to be an air superiority fighter, but due to its versatility, the F-15 Strike Eagle was modified into a strike fighter.
Given that it can reach a top speed of 1650 miles per hour when in the air, the F-15 Eagle unquestionably deserves a place in the world’s fastest fighter jets but is among the top 10 list.
Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker
1,600 mph, 1,300 km, 2,500 km/h, and M2.35 at altitude are the top speeds.
Maximum Range: 2,190 miles (3,530 kilometres), 1,910 miles
Sukhoi created the Russian fighter plane known as the Su-27. It was created to compete with the F-15 Eagle, and F-14 Tomcat manufactured in America. It has proven to be a competent fighter jet for air superiority operations.
In 1985, the Su-27 was put into service by the air force of the former Soviet Union. The primary objectives were to protect the Soviet Union’s frontiers from American-1B and B-52 bombers and to accompany the Soviet Air Force aircraft.
The Su-27 design is a basis for Su-35, Su-34, Su-33, and Su-30. The Chinese Shenyang J-11 is a Su-27 that was produced under license.
The aircraft, built in 1982, is predominantly used by the Chinese PLA Army Air Force, Russian Air Force, Defence Force, Uzbekistan Air, and other air forces.
1550 mph, 1347 km, 2495 km/h, and M2.0+ at altitude are the top speeds.
Maximum Range: 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometres)
The UK, Germany, Spain, and Italy worked together to build the multirole jet fighter known as the Eurofighter Typhoon. On March 27, 1994, the Typhoon took flight for the first time.
Many countries now use the Typhoon, especially those in Europe and the Gulf, since it went into service in 2003. A total of about 600 units have been constructed.
The Typhoon was a very effective fighter for air-to-air combat operations. The Typhoon handles ground strike operations, aerial reconnaissance, ground strike operations, and other air defense responsibilities.
McDonnell Douglas F-15
Since there have been no losses in air-air combat involving US-operated F-15s, aircrews were trained to cut off the damaged or failing engine while increasing the throttle. Undoubtedly one of the toughest fighters ever made is the F-15C.
The Eagle has been in continuous service since 1976, and it may be configured in several ways suitable for both tactical fighter and strike operations. Active electronic scanning arrays included in the most recent F-15E generational improvements are planned to enhance the Eagle’s operating life until the 2040s. The F-15’s remarkable service record is mainly due to its two Pratt & Whitney F100 series engines delivering 47,000 pounds of thrust.
Grumman F-14 Tomcat
1,544 mph, 1,342 km, 2,485 km/h, and M2.34 at altitude are the top speeds.
Max Range: 1,800 miles/3,000 kilometres
The Grumman F-14 was created using the expertise learned from American fighters’ combat with MiG fighters during the Vietnam War. The F-14 initially saw use in the U.S. Navy in 1974, taking the place of the F-4 Phantom.
The F-14 proved to be a flexible fighter aircraft and performed various tasks, but it was most effective as an air dominance fighter and interceptor. The fact that the jet serviced the U.S. Navy for 32 years, between 1974 to 2006, speaks volumes about how well it was designed.
The Iranian Air Force, in particular, still uses the type in their aircraft. According to reports, Iranian F-14s escorted Russian bombers on airstrikes in Syria in 2015. Iran is the last country still using F-14s, which equipped them with indigenous avionics to extend their useful life until 2030.
Maximum Flight Distance: 2,346 nmi, 2,700 mi, or 4,345 km Top Speed: 1,526 mph, 1,325 knots, or Mach 2.3
One of the uncommon first-generation fighter jets is the F-106. Despite its legendary history, the F-106 would have been the final fighter plane to choose air-to-air combat speed over visibility. In actuality, it whispered the creation of the F-4 Phantom. The Phantom can carry more weaponry and has unique radar technology.
The F-106 was superior in terms of pure speed and maneuverability. Even so, this extraordinary jet only briefly experienced service and never engaged in official combat. It was primarily used to push the boundaries of exactly what a combatant in the 1950s could do.
Lockheed Martin F-22
At altitude, the top speed is 1,500 mph, 2,414 km/h, or M2.25.
Max Range: 1,800 miles/3,000 kilometres
There is a solid reason why the F-22 is a favorite among many aerospace aficionados. Many technological developments in aerodynamic performance, stealth, and avionics systems were made possible by constructing the F-22.
The F-22 was primarily created as an air superiority fighter, but its adaptability may also be employed for information collection, electronic warfare, and ground attack.
Many people would consider the F-22 as the flagship fighter jet of the United States Air Force. The USAF had initially intended to buy a total of 750 units. However, that plan was revised in 2009 for several reasons, most notably due to lagging developments of Russian and Chinese counterparts. Another reason for the halted production was the focus on the newly developed F-35 and the ban on exports of this aircraft.
The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E
1,500 mph, 1,300 km, 2,400 km/h, and M2.25 at altitude are the top speeds.
Maximum Range: 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers)
The Su-27 has been improved with the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E. It was first called the Su-27M. The Soviets searched for methods to export their technology breakthroughs to the rest of the world once the Soviet Union fell. They decided to rename the plane the Su-35.
In June 1988, the Su-35 decided to make its maiden flight. Aviation Engineers created the first iteration between 1987 and 1995. Sukhoi chose to create a modernized version of the jet Su-27M as a stand-in aircraft while working on the Su-57. The Su-35S version of this aircraft has been manufactured since 2007 and is still in service.
Orders for the kind have been placed from China, Indonesia, and Russia, who have found it a popular choice. The updated Su-35 boasts new thrust-vectoring jet engines, a revamped cockpit, and improved weaponry.
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II
At altitude, the top speed is 1,472 mph (1,280 knots) or 2,379 km/h.
Maximum Range: 2,699 km, 1,457 nmi, and 1,677 mi
This F-4 Phantom II is the real deal—legendary stuff. The F-4 has established itself as a worthy foe throughout its combat operations in Vietnam and contemporary warfare.
The F-4, created in the early 1960s, shattered all airspeed records at the time. It was effective at outrunning adversary jets as well as outfighting them.
The last of the super jet generations to use these two-engine, two-seats fighter jets was retired in 2013. Due to its effectiveness, it became the US army’s go-to jet when it wanted to put on a deadly display for its adversaries.
The Dassault Mirage 2000
At altitude, the top speed is 1,453 mph (1,261 knots) or 2,336 km/h.
Maximum Range: 1,550 km/840 mi/960 km
Another multipurpose fighter plane produced by Dassault in France is the Mirage 2000. France realized it needed a super jet to level the playing field while other nations fought for control of the skies. Because of this, the Mirage 2000D and 2000N were developed.
The Mirage 2000D was designed to intercept and engage airborne opponents, and the Mirage 2000N was intended to be a quick assault nuclear weapon. However, they discovered that the Mirage 2000 was better suited for transient attacks that dropped precision munitions from a great distance when it first took to the skies in the early 1980s.
Even when the Mirage was carrying guided missiles and bombs, it could still approach Mach 2.
What is the world’s fastest jet fighter?
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
3,337 miles maximum flight distance at a top speed of 2,500 mph
Any aerospace enthusiast will assure you that the Blackbird SR-71 Blackbird is one of their favorite combat jets, and for a good reason—it is truly unique.
The Blackbird has consistently broken world air speed records and received numerous honors for its accomplishments in aeronautical design, performance, and adaptability.
The SR-71 is a fighter that is so stealthy that it is hardly visible, let alone hit. The Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat seems to be the only fighter jet that comes close, yet even it struggles to keep up with the unchallenged leader of fighter jets.
The Lockheed YF-12
Maximum Flight Distance: 3,000 miles Top Speed: 2,275 mph
The renowned SR-71 Blackbird took design cues from the Lockheed YF-12; therefore, it has every right to be in the fighter jet hall of fame.
When the YF-12 was introduced in the early 1960s, it swiftly destroyed all previous flight records. However, the YF-12 program was shrouded in such secrecy that none realized it was the first serious test of military technology.
The goal of the YF-12 was to reach speeds of Mach 3+ and turn science fiction into reality. However, the Military cut funding for the project, and the YF-12 was changed to a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. Fortunately, it gave rise to the SR-71’s design manual.
North American XB-70 Valkyrie’s
Maximum flight distance of 3,725 miles at 2,050 mph.
Despite its subpar performance, the XB-70 is undoubtedly among the most beautiful fighter aircraft ever created. Additionally, it would leave behind a legacy utterly unrelated to what it had set out to do.
The XB-70 was initially intended to be the deadliest manned strategic bomber ever created. This included traveling at about 70,000 feet at cruising speeds over Mach 3. The bomber’s design was attractive to look at and had a novel wing design that would enable it to function like a true engineering marvel.
On the other hand, supersonic transport was another area of aviation that was simultaneously gaining a lot of attention. In any case, that just so occurred that the XB-70’s dimensions and construction were ideal for testing supersonic travel.
Consequently, the XB-70’s mission shifted from being a deadly bomber to a study plane. Supersonic transport designers learned a great deal from its earliest test flights.
Two people were tragically killed during these testing, which negatively impacted the program. The XB-70 Valkyrie is still one of the most formidable research aircraft ever created.
What is meant by the Mach Speed?
The speed of sound and Mach speed are related. Mach 1.0, also known as 332 m/s or 1195 km/hr or 717 mph, is the rate at which sound travels. The “sound barrier,” which is broken by aircraft moving greater than the speed of sound, frequently produces a sonic boom. Once an airplane can fly faster than the speed of sound, it transforms into a tremendous battle machine that can rapidly intercept targets and other aircraft across huge distances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the fastest plane in the world right now?
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, once the fastest airplane in the world, is currently solely on exhibit at aviation museums, like the Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon. The SR-71 Lockheed Blackbird is a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft designed in the United States to evade interceptors and surface-to-air missiles.
Q: What country has the fastest fighter jets?
The Soviet-designed MiG-25 is now the fastest fighter jet still in use. Mikoyan explicitly designed this fighter jet to serve as an interceptor.
Q: Can a plane go Mach 10?
Yes, the first air-breathing hypersonic vehicle, the X-43A, was launched into the atmosphere by NASA on November 16, 2004, traveling at Mach 10.
After reading this guide, we hope you will have a thorough understanding of the fastest fighter jets because we have done our best to detail each fighter jet’s characteristics and history. The purpose of fighter aircraft in armed conflict is to maintain air superiority over the battlefield. Bombers and attack planes can bomb enemy targets tactically and strategically when they control the aircraft above a battle. Thus, these fighter jets’ most crucial characteristic is speed. They serve a defensive purpose by offering close-range support to land-based armies and thwarting potential enemy airstrikes. Military aircraft are vital in naval warfare because they can spot and destroy warships and submarines, protecting the seacoast from enemy attacks.