A jet aircraft (or simply jet) is an aircraft (nearly always a fixed-wing aircraft) propelled by jet engines. Whereas the engines in propeller-powered aircraft generally achieve their maximum efficiency at much lower speeds and altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency at speeds close to or even well above the speed of sound. Jet aircraft generally cruise most efficiently at about Mach 0.8 (981 km/h (610 mph)) and at altitudes around 10,000–15,000 m (33,000–49,000 ft) or more. With jet engines being efficient typically around Mach 0.8; Lets now take a look at some of the fastest military jets in the world. Some of these jets are hitting record speeds that make the flight training even more intense than flying a regular jet. Now without further ado, check out this list of the fastest military jets in the world. Please enjoy!
F-100 Super Sabre
The North American F-100 Super Sabre is an American supersonic jet fighter aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1954 to 1971 and with the Air National Guard (ANG) until 1979. The F‑100 flew extensively over South Vietnam as the air force’s primary close air-support jet until being replaced by the more efficient subsonic LTV A-7 Corsair II.
Top Speed: 864 mph – Max Flight Distance: 2,235 miles at 610 mph with internal fuel
The McDonnell F-101 Voodoo is a supersonic jet fighter which served the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Initially designed by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation as a long-range bomber escort (known as a penetration fighter) for the USAF’s Strategic Air Command (SAC), the Voodoo was instead developed as a nuclear-armed fighter-bomber for the USAF’s Tactical Air Command (TAC), and as a photo reconnaissance aircraft based on the same airframe.
Top Speed: 1,207.6 mph – Max Flight Distance: 1,520 miles with internal fuel
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. The acquisition strategy of concurrent production of the aircraft while it was still in development and testing led to expensive design changes and retrofits. The F-35 first flew in 2006 and entered service with the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B in July 2015, followed by the U.S. Air Force F-35A in August 2016 and the U.S. Navy F-35C in February 2019.
Top Speed: 1,200+ mph – Max Flight Distance: 1,381 miles on internal fuel
Fairey Delta II
The Fairey Delta 2 or FD2 (internal designation Type V within Fairey) was a British supersonic research aircraft produced by the Fairey Aviation Company in response to a specification from the Ministry of Supply for a specialized aircraft for conducting investigations into flight and control at transonic and supersonic speeds. The Delta 2 was the final aircraft to be produced by Fairey as an independent manufacturer. The Fairey Delta 2 was the first jet aircraft to exceed 1,000 miles per hour (1,600 km/h) in level flight.
Top Speed: 1,300 mph – Max Flight Distance: 830 miles with internal fuel
Sukhoi PAK FA T-50
The Su-57 is the first aircraft in Russian military service designed with stealth technology and is intended to be the basis for a family of stealth combat aircraft. A multirole fighter capable of aerial combat as well as ground and maritime strike, the Su-57 incorporates stealth, supermaneuvrability, supercruise, integrated avionics, and substantial internal payload capacity. The first prototype aircraft flew in 2010, and after a protracted development due to various issues that emerged during trials, including the destruction of the first production aircraft in a crash before its delivery, the first Su-57 entered service with the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) in December 2020.
Top Speed: 1,320 mph – Max Flight Distance: 2,175 miles with internal fuel
Created as a day fighter by Lockheed as one of the “Century Series” of fighter aircraft for the United States Air Force (USAF), it was developed into an all-weather multirole aircraft in the early 1960s and produced by several other nations, seeing widespread service outside the United States. After a series of interviews with Korean War fighter pilots in 1951, Kelly Johnson, then lead designer at Lockheed, opted to reverse the trend of ever-larger and more complex fighters and produce a simple, lightweight aircraft with maximum altitude and climb performance.
Top Speed: 1,328 mph – Max Flight Distance: 1,630 miles with internal fuel
Dassault Mirage 2000D/N
The Dassault Mirage 2000N is a variant of the Mirage 2000 designed for nuclear strike. The Mirage 2000D is its conventional attack counterpart. The Mirage 2000N was designed to French requirements for an aircraft to replace the older Mirage IVP. Since the Mirage 2000N’s standard weapon was the ASMP, which was carried on the centerline pylon, this meant that it could not carry a centerline tank, but a distinctive big 2,000 liter (530 US gallon) underwing drop tank with a bulbous nose was developed to more than compensate.
Top Speed: 1,453 mph – Max Flight Distance: 920 miles on internal fuel
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is an American tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber originally developed by McDonnell Aircraft for the United States Navy. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981 with a total of 5,195 aircraft built, making it the most produced American supersonic military aircraft in history, and cementing its position as an iconic combat aircraft of the Cold War. The Phantom is a large fighter with a top speed of over Mach 2.2.
Top Speed: 1,472 mph – Max Flight Distance: 1,615 miles with internal fue
The Convair F-106 Delta Dart was the primary all-weather interceptor aircraft of the United States Air Force from the 1960s through to the 1980s. It was gradually retired during the 1980s, with the QF-106 drone conversions of the aircraft being used until 1998 under the Pacer Six program. The F-106 was the ultimate development of the USAF’s 1954 interceptor program of the early 1950s.
Top Speed: 1,526 mph – Max Flight Distance: 1,841 miles with internal fuel
The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency, representing the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, manages the project and is the prime customer. The aircraft’s development effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft program, a multinational collaboration among the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Previously, Germany, Italy and the UK had jointly developed and deployed the Panavia Tornado combat aircraft and desired to collaborate on a new project, with additional participating EU nations.
Top Speed: 1,550 mph – Max Flight Distance: 1,800 miles with internal fuel
The primary role was long range air defense against American SAC Rockwell B-1B Lancer and Boeing B-52G and H Stratofortress bombers, protecting the Soviet coast from aircraft carriers and flying long range fighter escort for Soviet heavy bombers such as the Tupolev Tu-95, Tupolev Tu-22M and Tupolev Tu-160. The Su-27 was developed into a family of aircraft; these include the Su-30, a two-seat, dual-role fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions, and the Su-33, a naval fleet defense interceptor for use from aircraft carriers.
Top Speed: 1,550 mph – Max Flight Distance: 2,193 miles with internal fuel
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing). Following reviews of proposals, the United States Air Force selected McDonnell Douglas’s design in 1969 to meet the service’s need for a dedicated air superiority fighter. The aircraft design proved flexible enough that an improved all-weather strike derivative, the F-15E Strike Eagle, was later developed, entered service in 1989 and has been exported to several nations.
Top Speed: 1,650 mph – Max Flight Distance: 1,222 miles or 3,450 miles with external tanks
Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound
The Mikoyan MiG-31 (Russian: Микоян МиГ-31; NATO reporting name: Foxhound) is a supersonic interceptor aircraft that was developed for use by the Soviet Air Forces. the MiG-31 is based on and shares design elements with the MiG-25. It continues to be operated by the Russian Air Force and the Kazakh Air Force following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Top Speed: 1,860 mph – Max Flight Distance: 900 miles with internal fuel
To fulfil the needs of the Protivo-Vozdushnaya Oborona (air defense forces, PVO) for a heavy interceptor to carry out automatic interceptions, the MiG bureau had developed a range of large fighter aircraft starting with the swept wing I-3 series (a.k.a. in comparison the contemporary MiG-21F (similar in layout), weighed 4,819 kg (10,624 lb.) and was 15.76m (51 ft 8-1/2in) long, compared with 12,345 kg (27,215 lb.) and 18.14m (59 ft 6in) respectively, for the Ye-150.
Top Speed: 1,883 mph – Max Flight Distance: 913 miles
The MiG-25 Foxbat
It turned out that the aircraft’s weight necessitated its large wings. Production of the MiG-25 series ended in 1984 after completion of 1,186 aircraft. It is one of the highest-flying military aircraft, one of the fastest serially produced interceptor aircraft, and the second-fastest serially produced aircraft after the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft, which was built in very small series compared to the MiG-25. As of 2018, the MiG-25 remains the fastest manned serially produced aircraft in operational use and the fastest plane that was offered for supersonic flights and edge-of-space flights to civilian customers.
Top Speed: 2,170 mph – Max Flight Distance: 1,075 miles on internal fuel
The Lockheed YF-12 was an American Mach 3+ capable, high-altitude interceptor prototype, developed and manufactured by American aerospace company Lockheed Corporation. It was developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s as a potential replacement for the F-106 Delta Dart interceptor for the United States Air Force (USAF). this move was to provide plausible deniability for the CIA-operated A-12 fleet, which closely resembled the prototype YF-12. During the 1960s, the YF-12 underwent flight evaluations by the USAF, but funding to put it into operational use was not forthcoming partly due to the pressing demands of the Vietnam War and other military priorities.
Top Speed: 2,275 mph – Max Flight Distance: 3,000 miles
The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” is a long-range, high-altitude, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed and manufactured by the American aerospace company Lockheed Corporation. It was operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) and NASA. The SR-71 was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft during the 1960s by Lockheed’s Skunk Works division. The SR-71 entered service in January 1966. During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes (Mach 3.2 and 85,000 feet, 25,900 meters), allowing it to outrace or entirely avoid threats.
Top Speed: 2,500 mph – Max Flight Distance: 3,337 miles on internal fuel
Boeing X-51 Scramjet
The Boeing X-51 Waverider is an unmanned research scramjet experimental aircraft for hypersonic flight at Mach 5 (3,300 mph; After two unsuccessful test flights, the X-51 completed a flight of over six minutes and reached speeds of over Mach 5 for 210 seconds on 1 May 2013 for the longest duration powered hypersonic flight. Waverider refers in general to aircraft that take advantage of compression lift produced by their own shock waves.
Top Speed: 3,900 mph – Max Flight Distance: 460 miles
North American X-15
The X-15 was a rocket with wings. In the race to breach the upper limits of what was capable for speed, this experimental aircraft flew a total of 199 missions that continuously breached what was thought possible in terms of service ceiling and air speed. The highest record for speed was given to William J. “Pete” Knight when he broke 4,519 mph at an altitude of 19.3 miles.
Top Speed: 4,520 mph – Max Flight Distance: 280 miles
Furthering the pursuits of space travel, NASA has breached the limits of what is currently the fastest recorded air travel. The X-43 breached the Mach 9.6 barrier in an unmanned flight. High velocity travel was possible by using a booster rocket to get to the right speed and altitude and then having cutting-edge scramjet technology take over from there. Top Speed: 6,598 mph
We’re not done here! Continue to see into the future of the fastest aircraft!
Here are a few wild looking concepts for what could be the next fastest aircraft in the world! This looks fast, light and futuristic. Could you imagine this being the aircraft of the future?
Up Next: One of the fast looking aircraft we have ever seen.
This concept really opens the mind. Have you ever seen horizontal thrusters like this? This flat design seems built for speed.
Up Next: The most beastly looking aircraft we have ever seen!
Now this is a beast! This concept doesn’t look like it would be the fastest but who knows.