Top 10 The Fastest Military Aircraft of All Time

10. Mach 2.34 F-14D Super Tomcat

The Tomcat is a staple of Top Gun, though you may recognize it from an earlier series. Without a doubt, the Grumman F-14D Tomcat is an absolutely unique plane. The aircraft was designed to be able to destroy enemy aircraft at night and can reach speeds of Mach 2.34. The F-14D can fly and destroy in any type of weather, unlike many jets that can only fly in fair weather. In addition to being able to attack at night even in less-than-ideal circumstances, the plane can simultaneously target not one, not two, but six targets. Additionally, the Tomcat excels at spotting enemy planes from a distance of 100 miles. From Grumman’s Calverton facility, the plane made its first flight on November 23, 1987, and the last prototype flew on February 9, 1990.

With the addition of more robust and sophisticated software, the F-14D Tomcat, the last model in the F-14 series, emerged as a formidable fighter. Production of the F-14 was halted in 2008 when Defense Secretary Dick Cheney decided the planes couldn’t keep up with modern technologies.

On March 10, 2006, the F-14D Tomcat was no longer used by the United States Navy. This particular aircraft was last deployed on February 8, 2006, in an American combat mission that involved the dropping of a bomb in Iraq. Despite having been manufactured in 712 units, the majority of these planes are currently grounded. The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is the home of the Tomcats that have survived relatively unscathed and are in good technical condition. Museums devoted to aviation and space exploration also have an abundance of models.

There were apparently twenty functioning F-14s in Iran, for a total of forty-four, but others were destroyed to prevent Iran and other countries from obtaining the planes’ parts.

There have been 23 planes destroyed by shredding out of 165 as of 2007. A full disassembly of one F-14D aircraft costs around $900,000, or 42% of the total cost.

9. Mach 2.35 – MiG-23 Flogger

The MiG-21 Fishbed was superseded by the MiG-23 Flogger. Featuring a more powerful engine and adjustable sweep wings that could alter speed, takeoff time, and landing time, the plane was undeniably an advance. Pilots who have taken to the skies in this jet have nothing but praise for its user-friendliness and reputation as a top-tier fighter. Despite the plane’s first flight being on June 10, 1967, and its full entry into service being in 1973, 4,278 single-seat MiG-23s and 769 trainers were finished in 1985.

The YF-113 is the American designation for a former Russian defensive fighter that the United States bought and rebadged with the addition of radar and infrared tracking devices. The Soviet Union, along with a few of Warsaw Pact allies—including Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, and East Germany—made extensive use of the aircraft once they were ready for flight. Among the many nations that own MiG-23s are Syria, Egypt, Cuba, North Korea, India, and North Korea. A streamlined version of the Flogger is also used by the Israeli military.

The MiG-23 has maintained its status as a beloved fighter in many nations, despite being taken out of Russian service in 1994. The Russian military still has functioning MiG-23s stationed at different stations, even if they aren’t employed as frequently as they formerly were. Some have even put the planes to use as escorts for Su-30s. Angola, Ukraine, Sudan, Kazakhstan, and India are among the several countries that continue to deploy the over 11,000 MiG-23s in their air force groups. The Museum of Aviation in Belgrade and the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Kiev are just two of the many museums that house numerous MiG-23s.

8. Turbofan Su-27 Flanker – 2.35 Mach

The Soviet Union needed an equal or better aircraft to counter the United States’ top-tier F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon when they appeared in the sky. Russia need a means to surpass the United States since its pilots were severely outmatched by these American jets. In response, the Soviet Union developed the Su-27 Flanker. The plane’s design prioritizes its ability to fly over hazardous terrain and establish air domination. The Flanker is often hailed as the most formidable fighter of its era, thanks to its top speed of 2.35 mach.While the plane’s first prototype took to the air on May 20, 1977, it lagged behind its American competitors. The Su-27, which was finished on April 20, 1981, was precisely what the USSR required. Several records were set by the plane during this time, such as the fastest takeoff speed and the highest altitude achieved. The project cost a fair penny of $180 million, but other countries like Vietnam and China were keen on making their own copies, despite it being Russia’s initiative.

Soar, battle, or sit?

The Su-27 Flankers are the most common aircraft in the air today. Many of these planes are on display at air shows only for the purpose of receiving admiring glances and applause; others are still being used by the military. Russia still maintains 449 operational jets, Belarus has 19, and Ukraine has 74—even though the USSR is no more. Not only do these nations own some of these planes, but so do the United States, Ethiopia, and Indonesia, among others. These days, you can get a few of these planes for around $5 million.

7. Mach 2.37 – F-14 Tomcat

The F-14 Tomcat’s arrival as a replacement for the scrapped F-111B couldn’t have been timed better. The F-14, developed by Grumman, was the long-range fighter that the United States Navy had been looking for. In the 1970s, production of the first F-14s commenced; however, modifications were implemented due to the TF30 engines’ significant limitations. To address this, the planes were outfitted with more powerful engines to meet the necessary standards of dependability and speed. The F-14 has been an excellent plane overall, with the exception of some early engine problems. This plane was a master thanks to its large fuel capacity and variable-sweep wings. More than 100 miles away, the plane may fight hostile planes and missiles. This is especially helpful since it fends off aerial attacks on aircraft carriers. After the Soviet Union fell apart in the 1990s, the plane was degraded with minimal ground attack capacity because those capabilities were no longer needed. Rising maintenance expenses led to the planes’ replacement today with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Soar, battle, or sit?

September 22, 1996 was the day of retirement for the F-14D Tomcat. The last time it was used for military purposes was on February 8 of that year, when bombs were dropped in Iraq. It proved too costly to produce and maintain the planes beyond 2010, despite plans to keep them in production. Aircraft of the F-14 type were gradually phased out of service when production of new ones came to a standstill. You won’t see an F-14 taking to the skies or engaging in air combat in the United States. Museums now house a large number of these instead. Despite the fact that the United States no longer uses any of these aircraft, they are still available to the Iranian Air Force because to a 1976 gift. While the United States uses these jets, Iran is the only other country that does.

6. Engine: Su-24 Fencer – Mach 2.4

It is frequently compared to the United States. An aircraft manufactured by the Soviet Union, the F-111 Fencer is also known as the Su-24 Fencer. The Fencer demonstrated that it was substantially superior than its original intent—competition. Many consider this jet to be the most perilous Soviet aircraft ever. Compared to the F-111, the plane was significantly quicker, smaller, lighter, and more powerful.

The nicest thing about this plane is that it can reach mach 2.4 at low altitudes, which isn’t something many planes can do because supersonic flight usually requires a particular altitude. Missiles fitted to the Fencer have laser-designators, allowing for greater precision in many cases. The Fencer is incredibly powerful thanks to this technology and terrain radar. After a successful first flight on July 2, 1967, the plane was officially introduced to the military in 1974.

Soar, battle, or sit?

There have been around 1,400 Su-24 Fencers built, with 650 of those aircraft originating from the USSR. The newer, more sophisticated Su-34 is progressively replacing the older, less effective fencers. This phase-out has been slow, though, and the Russian and Ukrainian air forces continue to make use of many of these planes—at least until the Russian government can guarantee that the new Su-34 will cost enough to be built. Reportedly, these aircraft were deployed in 2008 amidst the war in Georgia. Not only do these two nations make use of this plane for military purposes, but so do other others, including Iran, Algeria, Iraq, Libya, and Belarus.

5. Mach 2.5: The F-111 Aardvark

Among the many notable features of the F-111 Aardvark is its fully retractable and enclosed module, which serves as a safety net for the plane’s two crew members in the case of an emergency ejection. Despite its strange animal name, the F-111 Aardvark—first proposed by General Dynamics in the early 1960s—was a popular strategic bomber in its day. This particular aircraft made its maiden flight on December 21, 1964, and it was subsequently commissioned into the military in July 1967. The F-111 was designed to be a long-range interceptor for the United States Air Force. Navy in addition to an elite attack fighter bomber for the Air Force’s utilization. The plane was only helpful to the Air Force, though, because it was considered too heavy to be employed after it was built and ready to be loaded aboard a carrier. Notwithstanding this, the F-111 was placed to good usage by the Air Force, but only after fixing issues with its common engine intake, drag, and multiple structural failures. The F-111F’s top-tier engines, terrain-following radar, and laser-guided weaponry were immediately apparent upon touching down. Once all of the above disputes were resolved, the Aardvark proved to be a very valuable aircraft for a considerable amount of time.

Soar, battle, or sit?

Despite its widespread employment, the F-111 suffered high casualties during the Vietnam War for a variety of reasons. There is now no American military use for the F-111 Aardvark. In 1998, the plane was no longer used by the United States Air Force. The F-111 can be seen at numerous museums across the United States, including those in California, Illinois, Texas, Alabama, New York, Ohio, and New Mexico, among many more. It is planned that by the end of 2010, Australia will have phased out the usage of its relatively modest fleet of F-111Cs in favor of the F-35.

4. Mach 2.5 – F-15 Eagle

If the United States Air Force is serious about finding a suitable successor to the F-4 Phantom, it must look to the future. The Air Force put out a need for a long-range, technologically advanced fighter with air superiority capabilities. Concurrent with the 1965 request, the concept for the F-15 Eagle was revealed. The plane was put into service in 1979 after taking its maiden flight just seven years later. A larger airplane spanning around 64 feet in length and 42 feet merely in the wingspan was designed by McDonnell Douglas, a company now better known as Boeing. The aircraft featured enormous wings and incredible agility. The plane can reach Mach 2.5 speeds quickly thanks to the use of titanium and extended compression adjustable inlets, even though it is larger than most on the list. On the other hand, with all of its armaments aboard, the Eagle can only reach speeds of approximately 1.78 Mach. The F-15 Eagle, like other planes, was produced in multiple series, the most common of which being the F-15A and F-15D. Upgrading to more recent models meant getting state-of-the-art electronics, including state-of-the-art computers and radar.

Soar, battle, or sit?

U.S. services, notably the Air Force and the National Guard, continue to utilize the F-15 Eagle today, making it one of the few planes on the list that is still in operation. A lot of people think the Eagle is the most successful airplane ever made. Since its launch, the plane has completed more than 100 missions with success. Throughout history, these planes have played a significant role in battles involving the Middle East. The F-15s have been incredibly important in the battle in Iraq and the mission for Operation Iraqi Freedom. A large number of nations have also chosen to maintain F-15 operations outside of the United States. Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Japan are among these nations.

3. Mach 2.83: MiG-31 Foxhound

As an upgraded version of the MiG-25 fighter, the MiG-31 Foxhound conducted its maiden flight on September 16, 1975. The plane would be designed to intercept foreign planes traveling at high speeds, deflect cruise missiles, and stop planes flying low in the sky. The Foxhound is believed to be an upgrade over the MiG-25, despite its strange resemblance to the latter. The plane is larger and supposedly more powerful than the MiG-25. It can reach supersonic speeds even when flying at low altitudes. The Foxhound is now a lot more dependable and efficient worker because to new, more powerful engines and upgraded tracking radar. In 1983, once the plane had been fine-tuned, it could finally join the military. Once the new plane was in service, the MiG-25 saw a gradual drop in usage as the Foxhound took its place. Near the end of the day, Russia and the Soviet Union each received 400–500 MiG-31s.

Soar, battle, or sit?

Russia, Kazakhstan, and Syria, in the near future, were all users of the MiG-31 today. Roughly 286 of these are in Russia’s military inventory, with an additional 100 held in reserve. While the Kazakhstan Air Force intends to restore approximately 10 of its Foxhounds, the majority of these dogs are reportedly nonoperational. Nevertheless, Kazakhstan does own a small number of Foxhounds. Although Syria does not currently possess any Foxhounds, the nation is expected to acquire them in the near future. Due to external pressure (and potentially financial concerns), the government has suspended the order of multiple of these planes.

2. 3.2 Mach MiG-25R Foxbat-B

The Soviet Union’s primary goal in 1959 was to develop a fighter plane capable of both intercepting and conducting reconnaissance missions. This bomber, like a few others from Russia, was designed to compete with planes like the North American XB-70 and the Lockheed SR-71. Testing of the MiG-25R Foxbat with its reconnaissance capabilities started in 1970, following the signing of a statute in 1969 that authorized the plane’s first flight in March 1964. Additionally, a statute mandating the testing of interceptor planes was enacted about this period. The Soviet Air Force utilized both designs in 1972. After 1980, when all MiGs were upgraded, the plane gained an automatic fire control system and superb radar, which included look-down shoot-down radar. While flying at supersonic speeds, the MiG-25R Foxbat can also drop bombs from 65,000 feet to hit stationary targets. The jet could also launch ten bombs simultaneously thanks to an inbuilt mechanism.

Soar, battle, or sit?

Quite a few nations continue to rely on the MiG-25R. Some countries that have access to these jets include Algeria, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Syria, Turkmenistan, and Iran. Russia, the plane’s primary manufacturer, also keeps using them. There are currently around 39 operational MiG-25s in the Russian Air Force. Some are still in operation, while others are on display at museums, such as Dayton, Ohio’s National Museum of the United States Air Force.

1. Skyhawk SR-71 – Mach 3.2+

The SR-71 Blackbird remains the fastest manned reconnaissance aircraft forty years after its introduction. The SR-71, built by Lockheed, was largely conceptualized by the renowned aviation historian Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. Before entering service in January 1966, the plane made its maiden flight on December 22, 1964. The U-2 spy plane was extremely susceptible to Soviet air defenses because of its speed and inability to climb to higher altitudes, making the SR-71 an essential weapon. It could reach speeds of Mach 3.2 or faster. The SR-71, which could outrun its enemies and was faster overall, entered the picture. Actually, the plane was never shot down by an opponent; instead, 12 out of 32 that were ever produced were destroyed in accidents. A new technological paint made it so the plane couldn’t be easily detected by radar. The plane’s general design also contributed to its status as an early example of stealth technology.

Soar, battle, or sit?

There is no SR-71 swooping across the sky today. Instead, it’s probably in a museum or, more specifically, three of them are insecure at Lockheed in Palmdale. In 1998, Congress and the United States government realized that the SR-71 should be permanently retired. Air Force, explaining that the plane’s upkeep and operation were extremely costly. Congress chose to resurrect a small fleet to be utilized because the plane was used so extensively during the Cold War, despite being retired for the first time in 1991. The SR-71 was permanently grounded in 1998, despite incredible enhancements like a state-of-the-art radar system and a data link that could transmit real-time photos.

You can find SR-71s at several air and space museums, as well as at Air Force bases in Tucson, Arizona; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Eglin Air Force Base in Florida; and other museums in California, England, Ashland, Nebraska, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia, among other places.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 The Best Unearthed Wonders At Ancient Sites

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *