Air passengers admire the ability of these planes to transport them quickly to the other side of the world. However, the speed of an airliner does not exceed 900 km/h, while supersonic and hypersonic aircraft fly much faster over a long period.
What is the fastest airplane in the world?
Here are the 5 fastest planes in the world, many of which shatter the speed of sound.
5. XB-70 Valkyrie with pilot and co-pilot
The North American XB-70 Valkyrie is the prototype of the American supersonic bomber. As a long-range tri-sonic bomber, its characteristics are unique.
Known for its high speed, it became almost invisible on radar screens and its high flight altitude exceeded the capabilities of Soviet fighter aircraft of the time. Even if detected, the aircraft would in any case only spend a very short time within the detection volume of a given radar station, leaving controllers no time to successfully intercept with alert fighters. .
The development of the aircraft then became a research project to study the effects of continuous high-speed flight. Two prototypes were thus manufactured and baptized XB-70A. These aircraft were used for supersonic test flights between 1964 and 1969. In 1966, a prototype crashed after a mid-air collision with an F-104 fighter jet.
The other Valkyrie bombers were displayed at the National Museum of the Air Force (NMUSAF) in Dayton, Ohio.
Maximum speed: 3275 km/h
First flight: September 21, 1964
Last flight: February 4, 1969
Aircraft built: 2
4. Bell X-2 Starborr with pilot
The Bell X-2 Starborr is an experimental aircraft produced by Bell Aircraft Corporation, which is used to collect data on double and triple sonic flight.
The purpose of the program is also to collect data on the phenomenon of dynamic heating caused by air friction on the battery of the device.
The development of the project is slow and difficult due to advances in fields as diverse as aerodynamics and the resistance to high temperatures of the materials necessary to design a device capable of reaching such speeds.
The X-2 reached unprecedented speed and altitude and was a pioneer in computer simulation of flight dynamics. It was also one of the first aircraft to be able to control the thrust of a rocket engine.
Maximum speed: 3370 km/h
First flight: November 18, 1955
Last flight: November 27, 1956
Aircraft built: 2
3. MiG-25 Foxbat with pilot
Mikoyan-Gurevich's MiG-25 is a Soviet interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft. He was the first to reach the speed of Mach 3.
In 1960, the Soviets realized that the American company North America had developed an XB-70 Valkyrie bomber capable of reaching the speed of March 3. In response to this threat, the Soviet leadership decided to conduct research on the Air Force's Trisonic interceptor.
The MiG-25 is also a reconnaissance aircraft, capable of going beyond the territorial limits of its activities to carry out spy missions.
Then, in 1997, an Indian MiG 25 flew at supersonic speed over Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and the Pakistani Air Force was unable to intercept it.
The MiG-25's speed and ceiling capabilities allow it to conduct reconnaissance missions outside its territory without being intercepted like the Blackbird SR-71.
Currently, this type of mission has become much more difficult for the MiG-25 because the air defense systems of fighter aircraft and radars have changed significantly.
Maximum speed: 3492 km/h
First flight: March 6, 1964
Last flight: Still in service
Aircraft built: 1190
2. SR-71 BlackBird With Driver
This spy plane, nicknamed the Blackbird, was built by the American army in less than 32 copies and was used between 1968 and 1990.
In 1945, after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the start of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, the latter realized that they did not have strategic data at that time, especially with regard to their military and industrial potential.
It is in this permanent geopolitical tension that the precursor of the SR-71, the Lockheed U-2, developed. It has a flight height of 20,000 meters, which puts it beyond the range of Soviet air defense missiles...while allowing it to photograph assigned areas. However, in 1956 Soviet defense radar detected the U-2, leading the United States to open other channels in the mid-1950s to maintain its tactical advantage.
Maximum speed: 3,540 kilometers per hour.
First flight: December 22, 1964
Last flight: 1998
Aircraft built: 32
1. X-15 With Pilot
The North American X-15 is an American experimental rocket plane, specially designed for research flights at extremely high speeds and altitudes.
Between 1960 and 1968, the three models performed approximately 200 test flights for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the US Air Force, breaking all speed and altitude records for drones.
The X-15's last record was a speed of 7,272.68 km/h (October 3, 1967) and an altitude of 107.96 km (August 23, 1963), making it the fastest manned aircraft in the world . It allows Americans to collect vast amounts of data on airflow behavior, aerodynamic friction, aircraft control and stability at high speeds and in high atmospheres, and technologies entry into the atmosphere.
However, during one flight, the surface temperature exceeded the expected 1300°C and severely damaged some of the batteries. Although North America repaired the plane, it never flew again.
Maximum speed: 7273 km/h
First flight: June 8, 1959
Last flight: October 24, 1968
Aircraft built: 3