#1 North American X-15
This aircraft currently holds the world record for the fastest manned aircraft. It can reach speeds of up to mach 6.70 or about 4473 miles per hour. It was a pilot named William “Pete” Knight who reached this speed in October 1967. It can be very difficult for for a plane to remain stable at a such high velocity. To keep the plane stable, it has a large wedge tail. Because this aircraft could reach such high speeds, it cannot use traditional steering. Instead, it uses rocket thrusters. This aircraft has broken three records that put it in the history books. It is the first operational space plane. Second, it has reached heights higher than 62 miles, and finally, it flew over 6 times the speed of sound.
#2 Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
This plane is one of the fastest aircrafts in the world, and it was first introduced in 1966, and since then, it has been used by both NASA and USAF. There were 32 of these aircrafts built and they were all used for experimental and reconnaissance research. What made this aircraft so special is that it it was spotted by enemy forces, it is fast enough to outrun the surface-to-air missiles and the interceptors. This aircraft hold the record for being the fastest air breathing, manned aircraft.
#3 Lockheed YF-12
This aircraft began as an American interceptor prototype, and it could reach a top speed of mach 3.35. It resembled the Blackbird but it also featured air-to-air missiles. This is something that the Blackbird didn’t have. Even though there were only three of these aircrafts made, it still made it into the record books for its high altitude and high speed. It also holds a biggest interceptor record.
#4 Mikoyan MiG-25 Foxbat
This aircraft was built during the Cold War by the Soviet Union. Its purpose was to intercept American aircrafts and also be be a slow flying surveillance craft. Because this aircraft was built to intercept the Amercian SR-17, it had to reach high speeds. It’s top recorded speed was mach 3.2. Unlike the Blackbird, the Foxbat featured 4 air-to-air missiles. This made it more of an interceptor than a reconnaissance craft. Between 1964 and 1984, there were over 1,100 Foxbats produced.
#5 Bell X-2 Starbuster
This aircraft made its first flight in 1955 and it was retired in 1956. It was originally designed to be an American research aricraft. This craft was a continuation the X-2, and it was designed to see how aircrafts would behave if they were pushed to go at speeds of higher than mach 2.0. This particular aircraft didn’t carry any weapons and it had a specialized wing that gave it very little air resistance. In 1956, it reached reached a speed of 3.196 mach by Milburn G. Apt, however, the craft tumbled out of control. The pilot could not regain control and when he escaped from the craft with a parachute, only the small one opened. He it the ground at a high speed and died.
#6 XB-70 Valkyrie
This aircraft weighed an astonishing 529,109 pounds. In order to keep the aircraft in the air, it needed six engines. It was capable of reaching speeds of up to mach 3. There were two reasons that the craft’s manufacturers needed it to reach such high speeds. First, they wanted it to be able to get away from the Soviet interceptors. Second, it needed to be able to eacape the blast of the nuclear bomb that it could drop. The aircraft’s first flight was in 1964 and there were only two built. Today, the craft is retired.
#7 Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxbat
This aircraft has two huge engines which had a thrust of 2*152kN. It was able to fly at supersonic speeds at low and high altitudes. This aircraft had the ability to reach speeds of up to mach 2.83 and it had three on board weapons. It had a 23 millimeter gun, complete with 260 rounds. It also had 4, R-33 air-to-air missiles under the fuselage. On the pylons, it had long and medium range missiles that could hit high speed targets. It is not known how many of these aircrafts were produced, and production ended in 1994.
#8 McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
This aircraft is considered one of the most successful aircrafts ever built. It is still being used in the US Air Force today. It has the capability of reaching speeds of over 2.5 time the speed of sound. According to recent reports, these planes will continue to be manufactured until 2019.
#9 General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
This is the only aircraft on the list that is not a fighter plane. It is actually a tactical bomber. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to mach 2.5. This craft had 2 weapons bays and 9 hardpoints. Because of the craft’s use in the air, it wasn’t fitted with a gun too often. This craft was retired in 1998.
#10 Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker
This is a Russian built jet, and it was capable of reaching speeds of up to mach 2.35. It was originally built to counter the American 3.5 gen fighters, like the F-15 Eagle. It was capable of holing heat seeking missiles as well as long and short range missiles. There have been several variations of this craft built since its first flight in 1977.
#11 F/A-18 Super Hornet
This is a twin engine aircraft. It is supersonic and it is an all weather jet fighter. What makes this aircraft so unique is that it can both take off and land from an aircraft carrier. It is capable of reaching speeds of an amazing 1,190 miles per hour.