15 Fastest Combat Planes in the World

Alan Wilson/Wikimedia

Roaring jet engines, aerodynamic silhouettes, and intelligent fighter pilots are a common sight at every military base. But what doesn’t immediately meet the eye is the supersonic speeds these iconic planes can reach. These warplanes, designed for aerial dominance, are constantly upgraded with modern features to give them an edge over their competitors. The following slides contain 15 of the fastest combat planes ever built.

NASA/USAF X-15: Mach 6.72


The NASA/USAF X-15 is 50 feet long and has a wingspan of nearly 23 feet. Its powerhouse combines rocket engines, including the XLR99-RM-2, which provided an astonishing 57,000 pounds of thrust. Constructed primarily of titanium and advanced alloys, the X-15 can exceed Mach 6 speeds and altitudes of over 350,000 feet.

SR-71 Blackbird: Mach 3.4

USAF / Judson Brohmer/Wikipedia

Famous for its unparalleled speed and altitude capabilities, this supersonic jet could fly at Mach 3.4 and climb up to 85,000 feet above sea level. A distinctive delta-wing design and sleek black coating provide the SR-71 Blackbird with stealth capabilities and dissipate the intense heat generated during high-speed flights. Additionally, its titanium construction allows it to withstand the extreme temperatures experienced during high-speed flight.

Lockheed YF-12: Mach 3.2


A precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird, the Lockheed YF-12 is a terrific supersonic jet designed for high-speed reconnaissance missions. Powered by three Pratt & Whitney J58 engines, each producing more than 32,000 pounds of thrust, the YF-12 could fly at Mach 3.2. Its main job is intelligence gathering because the sophisticated radar systems enable it to detect and track enemies with remarkable precision.

MiG-25 Foxbat: Mach 3.2

Alex Beltyukov – RuSpotters Team/Wikipedia

Developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the MiG-25 Foxbat is a high-speed interceptor to counter threats from American strategic bombers. It outclasses many combat planes with a top pace of Mach 3.2 and an altitude of over 80,000 feet. Powerful turbojet engines help the MiG-25 cover vast distances quickly, making it an invaluable reconnaissance tool.

Bell X-2 Starbuster: Mach 3.2

NASA camera operator/Wikipedia

The Bell X-2 Starbuster debuted in the 1950s as part of the X-plane series. Its XLR25 rocket engine provided the thrust needed for a Mach 3.2 speed. With its sleek, needle-like shape and swept-back wings, the X-2 possesses high-speed stability and impeccable control. The jet measures 37 feet, has a wingspan of 32 feet, and a pressurized cockpit to protect the pilot at extreme heights and speeds.

XB-70 Valkyrie: Mach 3.02


This six-engine aircraft, designed by North American Aviation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, features a unique delta wing configuration and a variable-incidence wing design. Six General Electric YJ93 turbojet engines helped the XB-70 attain speeds of Mach 3.02 and a maximum altitude of over 70,000 feet. As a nuclear-armed strategic bomber, the fighter plane could easily evade enemy defenses.

MiG-31 Foxhound: Mach 2.83

Unknown author/Wikimedia

With twin D-30F6 turbofan engines that generate tremendous thrust, the Foxhound can exceed Mach 2.8 speed and altitudes of over 20 kilometers. The MiG-31 has a complex radar system that can simultaneously detect and track multiple enemies. In addition, its R-33 and R-37 long-range missiles help it hit targets well beyond visual range.

F-15 Eagle: Mach 2.5

Steve Lynes/Wikimedia

As a formidable military aircraft, the F-15 Eagle has two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 or -229 engines, each generating up to 29,000 pounds of thrust. As a result, this iconic jet can reach Mach 2.5, allowing for rapid response. With a firing radius of 1,000 nautical miles and the ability to operate in all weather conditions, the F-15 remains a cornerstone of modern air superiority.

F-111 Aardvark: Mach 2.5


The F-111 Aardvark can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.5 and cover vast distances swiftly. The jet could fly at low altitudes using its terrain-following radar, evading enemy detection while accurately delivering its payload. Furthermore, the F-111’s modernized avionics and electronic warfare equipment give pilots superior situational awareness and defensive capabilities. Despite its retirement from active service, the F-111 Aardvark remains a symbol of excellence.

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle: Mach 2.5

Steve Lynes/Wikimedia

This jet is 63 feet long and has a wingspan of around 42 feet. It brandishes a powerful Pratt & Whitney F100 turbofan engine capable of propelling it to speeds exceeding Mach 2.5. The futuristic flight control setup provides exceptional maneuverability even at high speeds. Also, an AN/APG-63 radar system provides long-range detection and tracking of targets, while advanced fire control mechanisms allow for precise engagement.

Su-27 Flanker: Mach 2.35

Alan Wilson/Wikimedia

Designed and produced by the Soviet Union/Russia, this twin-engine, twin-tail aircraft flies at Mach 2.35. Its range of approximately 3,530 kilometers ensures it can operate effectively over long distances without frequent refueling. The Flanker has a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, along with a built-in cannon, providing it with indomitable firepower. Additionally, an upgraded aerodynamic build and maneuverability give it exceptional agility.

MIG -29 Fulcrum: Mach 2.3

Ronnie Macdonald/Wikimedia

Featuring twin Klimov RD-33 after-burning turbofan engines, the MiG-29 delivers exceptional thrust, allowing it to excel in air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. It possesses diverse weaponry, including a 30mm GSh-30-1 cannon for close-range engagements. Additionally, the Fulcrum can carry a combination of air-to-air missiles like the R-73 and R-27, enhancing its capability to engage enemy aircraft at various ranges.

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor: Mach 2.25


The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor’s thrust-vectoring nozzles allow the jet to outmaneuver potential threats. With sophisticated avionics and sensors, the F-22 has unparalleled situational awareness. Also, its AN/APG-77 radar system can track multiple targets simultaneously and engage them with precision-guided missiles or bombs. The Martin is virtually invisible to enemies because of its low observable design,  radar-absorbent materials, and coatings.

Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker: Mach 2.25

Anton Bannikov/Wikimedia

The powerful Saturn AL-41F1S turbofan engines grant the Su-35 Flanker an impressive speed of up to Mach 2.25. Advanced avionics systems, like the modernized Irbis-E passive phased array radar, provide long-range and simultaneous detection equipment. The Sukhoi also features electronic warfare equipment, enhancing its survivability in hostile environments. Multiple air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and a built-in 30mm GSh-30-1 cannon are available for close-range fighting.

Eurofighter Typhoon: Mach 2

Davide Olivati/Wikimedia

The Eurofighter Typhoon’s aerodynamic structure, powered by twin Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines, enables supersonic speeds exceeding Mach 2. The fighter plane possesses advanced avionics and sensor systems, including a sophisticated radar and electronic warfare suite. With a maximum takeoff weight of around 23,500 kilograms and a combat radius of over 1,800 kilometers, the Typhoon can carry several air-to-air and air-to-ground payloads.

Written by grayson