The history of aviation dates back to 1903 when the intrepid Wright brothers succeeded to carry out the first powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight. Since then, engineers all over the world have developed planes of different kinds and purposes that can fly higher and faster than Wilbur and Orville Wright likely ever imagined. Today, we thought of sharing top 10 the fastest planes till date. The list goes as below:
Sukhoi Su-27 is a Russian fighter jet which can reach a maximum supersonic speed of Mach 2.35 (1,550 mph, or 2,500 km/h). It’s NATO name is Flanker.
This plane was built in 1960s by General Dynamics. It is a tactical strike aircraft. The U.S. Air Force remained its primary user. It could go up to Mach 2.5 (1,650 mph, or 2,655 km/h), or 2.5 times the speed of sound.
It is a twin-engine tactical fighter. It was designed by McDonnell Douglas in 1967. The plane is capable of carrying all-weather operations. It is designed to gain and maintain air superiority over enemy forces during aerial combat. The plane is capable of flying at speeds greater than Mach 2.5 (1,650 mph, or 2,655 km/h). It is considered one of the most successful planes ever created.
The Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound is a large frame, twin-engine supersonic aircraft with Russian origin. It is designed to intercept foreign planes at high speeds. It had its first flight in September 1975.
The published speeds of Mach 2.83 (1,860 mph, or 3,000 km/h) till day.
It was a mammoth six-engine plane which was designed by North American Aviation in the late 1950s. It was built as a prototype. Its proposed role was to carry nuclear-armed strikes. It achieved its design speed of Mach 3.02 (2,000 mph, or 3,219 km/h). The plane was able to reach an altitude of 70,000 feet (21,300 m).
Bell X-2 Starbuster
It was a rocket-powered research plane. This was jointly developed by Bell Aircraft Corporation, the U.S. Air Force and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (the precursor to NASA) in 1945. The purpose of the aircraft was built to investigate aerodynamic issues with supersonic flight within the Mach 2 to Mach 3 range.
It was an interceptor to collect reconnaissance data. It is one of the fastest military aircraft to have entered operational service. It made its first flight in 1964. The plane was first used by the Soviet Air Defense Forces in 1970. The plane offered incredible top speed of Mach 3.2 (2,190 mph, or 3,524 km/h).
The Lockheed YF-12 was developed for test purposes in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It had its first flight in 1963, and had reached top speed of Mach 3.2 (2,070 mph, or 3,330 km/h) at an altitude of 80,000 feet (24,400 m). The program was eventually cancelled.
It was an advanced Cold War-era reconnaissance aircraft developed by Lockheed in the 1960s. The program was highly classified. The twin-engine, two-seater aircraft was capable of accelerating to Mach 3.3 (more than 2,200 mph, or 3,540 km/h) at an altitude of 80,000 feet (24,400 m).
The rocket-powered X-15 was part of a fleet of X-plane experimental aircraft operated jointly by NASA and the U.S. Air Force. In the early 1960s, the X-15 set a number of speed and altitude records, reaching the edge of space (an altitude of more than 62 miles or 100 kilometers) on two separate occasions in 1963.Currently, the X-15 still holds the official world record for the fastest speed ever reached by a manned aircraft: Mach 6.72, which is 6.72 times the speed of sound, or 4,520 mph (7,274 km/h).
The X-15 was retired in 1970, but the program featured many notable NASA and Air Force test pilots, including Neil Armstrong, the man who would go on to become the first person to step foot on the moon.
Interestingly, during the illustrious X-15 program, 13 flights by eight different pilots exceeded an altitude of 50 miles (80 km), meeting the U.S. Air Force’s standard for spaceflight. As a result, the Air Force test pilots were awarded Air Force astronaut wings, and the civilian pilots were granted NASA astronaut wings.
Source: Live Science