Of all the technological advances mankind has made through the years, manned flight is probably the most impressive. Since the first powered flight in 1903, we’ve come a long way with commercial airliners that can travel hundreds of miles in just a few hours to military aircraft that can move fast enough to break the sound barrier.
Most airplanes are fast, there’s no denying that. But these 12 take speed to a different level. We also included a few planes that are still at the prototype stage just to show you what the near future may hold for manned flight.
#12 F-15 Eagle
This plane was first designed back in 1967, and has built quite the reputation for itself ever since. Considered one of the most successful military aircraft of its time, the F-15 Eagle is expected to remain in service until 2025 or so. The plane costs nearly $30 million and can fly around the globe in around 15 hours with a top speed of 1650 mph.
#11 Mikoyan Ye-152
While there aren’t many Mikoyan Ye-152 models actually in existence, the ones were built are incredibly fast. These single engine planes were developed by the Soviet Union and were the fastest planes they ever created. The cost of these planes has never been disclosed. With a top speed of 1666 mph, this plane could circle the entire planet in around 15 hours.
#10 Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound
The Foxhound is a supersonic aircraft interceptor in Russia. This plane was first introduced in 1982 and is still in use in Russia and Kazakstan. The plane made various design sacrifices for higher speed, and it worked. This plane can fly around the world in less than 13.5 hours, with its top speed being over 1800 mph.
#9 XB-70 Valkyrie
While this plane was never actually used in service, it was a real thing. This six engine plane was built for a hypothetical nuclear strike back in the 1950s and was only flown in 1964 and 1969. This aircraft cost $750 million and could fly at an astonishing 2000 mph, getting it around the world in under 12.5 hours.
#8 Bell X-2 ‘Starbuster’
The Starbuster was a plane solely created to see how an aircraft would hold up in Mach 2 and 3. However, disaster struck on its final flight when the plane crashed, ending the program. This plane could travel at 2094 mph, could get around the globe in under 12 hours. It cost $64 million.
#7 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat
This is without a doubt one of the fastest planes to ever enter operational service in the military. This aircraft was first used in 1970, but is still used in places like Russia and Algeria today. The plane costs $18 million, goes 2190 mph and can fly around the world in less than 11.5 hours.
#6 SR-71 Blackbird
The Blackbird was a highly secretive project used for recon during the Cold War. The plane was operational from 1964 to 1998. Each aircraft cost a cool $43 million, and could make its way around the world in under 10 hours at a top speed of 2500 mph. Pretty fast!
The X-15 is currently the fastest manned plane ever. This was a joint operation between NASA and the US Air Force to be used as an experimental plane. It cost a whopping $1.5 billion, and it can reach a top speed of 4520 mph. It can get around the world in under 8 hours.
#4 Boeing X-51
This plane is currently in development and should be ready for use in 2020. This is a pilotless plane designed as an extremely fast strike weapon. It will cost almost $8 million to create and will reach a top speed of 3400 mph, meaning it can get around the planet in 5.5 hours.
#3 X43A Scramjet
The Scramjet was originally developed after World War II, and finally, technology has advanced enough to make it viable. This is being developed by NASA to test hypersonic flight capabilities. The plane is planned to be able to reach 7500 mph and could fly around the world in just under 3.5 hours.
This little aircraft is a joint project between the US Military and DARPA. Not much has been said about its goals yet, and the technology is obviously under several layers of “classified.” There have been rumors it will be able to launch missile strikes anywhere in the world in an hour. The plane has also been rumored to be able to travel around the world in under 2 hours, with a top speed of well over 10,000 mph, but since the project is still classified, those predictions are basically just rumors at this point.
#1 NASA Space Shuttle
While this is not technically a plane or a military aircraft like most on this list, it still deserves a spot. The NASA Space Shuttle is far and away the fastest aircraft in the history of the world. This thing can fly at 17,500 mph and is capable of going around the world in less than an hour and a half.