Fast and furious - the world’s fastest military aircraft
Speed and agility are decisive advantages in any form of aerial dominance. Airforce-technology.com profiles the top ten fastest military aircraft in service with armed forces across the world.
MiG-31E Fighter - Mach 2.83
The MiG-31E fighter is an export variant of the MiG-31 aircraft produced by Russian Aircraft Corporation "MiG" (RAC "MiG"). It has a maximum speed of Mach 2.83 and can intercept and destroy targets any altitude, day and night.
The MiG-31 is in service with the air forces of Russia and Kazakhstan. It is the world's first serial production aircraft equipped with airborne phased array radar. The aircraft is armed with a 30mm GSh-6-23M built-in gun, R-33E long-range missiles, R-40TD1 (AA-6 'Acrid') medium-range missiles and R-60MK short-range air-to-air missiles.
The MiG-31E has an unrefueled range of 3,000km and offers a maximum range of 5,400km with one aerial refuelling. Two D-30F6 engines, each with a take-off thrust of 15,500kgf, enable it to fly a maximum air speed of 3,000km/h at high altitude.
MiG-25 Foxbat - Mach 2.83
The MiG-25 (NATO reporting name: Foxbat) interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft produced by Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB (now RAC "MiG") is currently in limited service with Russia and other nations.
The MiG-25 was delivered to the export customers including the air forces of Algeria, Armenia, Syria, Bulgaria, India, Iraq and Libya. The aircraft's armament is composed of two AA-6 Acrid and two R-40T air-to-air missiles.
The power-plant integrating two Tumansky R-15B-300 turbojets provides a top speed of Mach 2.83. Each engine develops a thrust of about 22,500lbf with afterburner.
F-15E Strike Eagle - Mach 2.5 class
The F-15E Strike Eagle built by Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a multi-role strike fighter that forms the backbone of the US Air Force. Strike Eagles are in service with overseas customers including the air forces of Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Israel and South Korea.
The F-15E carries a weapons load constituting a 20mm cannon, Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and small diameter bombs. It can strike targets while flying at low altitudes in all weather conditions during day or night.
The F-15E is powered by two P&W F100 or two GE F110 turbofan engines, each with a thrust rating of 29,000lbf with afterburning. The aircraft has a ferry range of 3,840km when fitted with conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) and three drop tanks.
Su-27SK - Mach 2.35
The Su-27SK multi-role fighter is an export variant of the Su-27 (NATO reporting name: Flanker) fighter developed by Sukhoi Design Bureau. The aircraft offers a maximum speed of Mach 2.35.
Serial production of the Su-27SK commenced at Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Irkutsk production plants in 1991. The armament package includes a built-in GSh-301 30mm automatic cannon, six R-27R1 (R-27ER1) medium-range air-to-air missiles, two R-27T1 (R-27ET1) medium-range missiles, six RVV-AE active radar-homing missiles, six R-73E short-range missiles, cluster bombs and rockets.
Two AL-31F engines, each with a thrust rating of 12,500kgf, provide a flight speed of 1,400km/h at sea level. The aircraft, with a maximum internal fuel capacity of 9,400kg, achieves a maximum flight range of 3,530km at cruising altitude.
Shenyang J-11 Fighter - Mach 2.35
Shenyang J-11 is the Chinese-built variant of the Russian Su-27SK multi-role fighter aircraft. The J-11s are in service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The indigenously built aircraft flies at speeds up to Mach 2.35.
The base J-11 aircraft integrates Russian-made components, while J-11B variant is installed with Chinese-built avionics and weapon systems. The weapons suite encompasses a 30mm gun, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, free-fall cluster bombs and unguided rocket launcher.
The power-plant consists of Lyulka AL-31F or Woshan WS-10A Taihang turbofan engines. Each engine generates a thrust of 123kN / 132kN with afterburner. The J-11 has a maximum range of 3,530km.
MiG-23 Flogger - Mach 2.35
Flight speeds of up to Mach 2.35 make the MiG-23 (NATO code name: Flogger) one of the world's fastest military aircraft. Over 5,000 aircraft were delivered to various export customers across the world.
The MiG-23s were widely used in the Iran-Iraq War, Soviet war in Afghanistan and Gulf War. The aircraft is currently in limited service with foreign users. It is armed with GSH-23 belly-mounted cannon, Vympel R-23 (AA-7 Apex) and R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) air-to-air missiles.
The MiG-23 is powered by Tumansky R-29B turbojet engine developing a thrust of 8,000kgf (78.4kN). The thrust with afterburning reaches 11,500kgf (112.8kN).
Tornado ADV - Mach 2.27
The Tornado Air Defence Variant (ADV) is the interceptor variant of Tornado combat aircraft developed by Panavia Aircraft. The Tornado ADV can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 2.27, while Interdictor and Strike / Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (IDS/ECR) versions offer a maximum speed of Mach 2.2.
More than 950 Tornado aircraft were delivered to the air forces of Germany, Italy, UK and Saudi Arabia. The Tornado ADV's armament is composed of a 27mm Mauser BK-27 cannon, AIM 7 Skyflash and AIM-120 AMRAAM or AIM-132 ASRAAM air-to-air missiles.
Two Turbo-Union RB199 turbofan jet engines, each with a dry thrust of 40.5kN, power the Tornado ADV. Each engine generates a thrust of over 70kN with afterburning. The Tornado ADV can achieve a ferry range of 3,890km.
MiG-35 Fulcrum-F - Mach 2.25
MiG-35 (NATO code name: Fulcrum-F) is a 4++ generation single-seat, multi-role fighter developed by RAC "MiG". The aircraft is capable of flying at a maximum speed of Mach 2.25. The MiG-35 is also offered in double seat configuration designated as MiG-35D.
The MiG-35 was developed based on the MiG-29 fighters and unveiled at the Aero India 2007 air show. The aircraft integrates a 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, guided and unguided bombs, and rockets.
The two RD-33MK engines with afterburners incorporate a smokeless combustion chamber and new electronic control system. The aircraft is also offered with all-aspect thrust-vector control (TVC) RD-33MK engines for dogfight scenarios.
MiG-29M / MiG-29M2 - Mach 2.25
The MiG-29M (single-seat) and MiG-29M2 (double-seat) 4++ generation single-seat multi-mission fighters can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 2.5. The aircraft are based on the MiG-29K/KUB carrier-based fighters.
The MiG-29M/M2 aircraft can strike stationary and movable ground/surface targets by employing an array of weapons including 30mm GSh-301 built-in gun, RVV-AE and R-73E air-to-air missiles, Kh-29T (TE), Kh-31A, Kh-35E and Kh-31P air-to-surface missiles, aerial bombs and rockets.
The MiG-29M/M2 aircraft are equipped with all-aspect thrust-vector RD-33MK engines. The power-plant consists of two RD-33MK engines generating a thrust of 9,000kgf (88.26kN) each.
Su-35 Flanker-E - Mach 2.25
The Su-35 multirole fighter, built by Komsomolsk-na-Amure Aviation Production Association (KnAAPO), is a modernised version of the Su-27 aircraft. The highly manoeuvrable aircraft can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 2.25.
The Su-35 is currently in service with the Russian Air Force. The aircraft is armed with 30mm GSh-30 internal cannon, air-to-air and air-to-surface guided missiles, guided and unguided rockets and bombs.
The aircraft is powered by two Saturn 117S turbofan engines with all-axis TVC nozzles. Each engine generates a thrust of 14,500kgf (142kN) with afterburning. The Su-35 can fly over a distance of 3,600km with full tank.