Born in the 1960s, the North American X-15, part of the US Air Force and NASA, is a unique aircraft: it is the fastest manned aircraft in the world ever.
Between 1959-1968, the X-15, shaped more like a bullet than a conventional aircraft and powered by a rocket engine, completed 199 test flights.
Unlike other aircraft, the X-15 is essentially a missile with a cockpit, so it is not designed to take off from a runway.
Instead, to get into the air, this aircraft needs to be raised to a certain height by the mother plane, then released into the atmosphere. The X-15's mother plane is a B-52 bomber specially adapted to carry out the mission of bringing this aircraft into the air at an altitude of about 14km.
The shell of the X-15 is made of a special alloy called Inconel X, which includes nickel and chromium to help the aircraft withstand the heat up to nearly 6,500 degrees Celsius caused by the aircraft flying at speeds of up to several thousand km/h, creating a tremendous friction force between the fuselage and the air.
Taking off was difficult, landing the X-15 was even more difficult than putting the aircraft in the air. “Once the fuel runs out or the engine stops working, the whole plane is nothing more than a giant glider.
It is not even an ideal glider, because the X-15 is very heavy, fast, and has small wings, so pilots can only rely on available speed and altitude to find it. how to land at a predetermined location”.
The X-15 couldn't even land on the runway because the landing gear only had two retractable steel beams that slid over the landing surface, so the plane ended up landing on a terrarium.
During its 9 years of operation, the X-15 project collected huge amounts of data from high-speed flights. In 1967, the flight piloted by pilot Pete Knight set a record with a speed of more than 7274 km / h, nearly 7 times the speed of sound.
The X-15 also produced a generation of outstanding astronauts, including Neil Armstrong - one of the legends of the aerospace industry.
In 1962, while piloting one of the seven flights he had ever made with the X-15, Armstrong reached an altitude of more than 62 meters and a speed of up to 4692 km/h, after which he demonstrated his ability to solve problems. topic to the top, contributing to Armstrong being chosen to command the Apollo 11 spacecraft.
Top fastest flying planes in the world
The Su-27 (NATO reporting name: Su-27 Flanker) is a super-maneuverable fighter from the former Soviet Union with a twin-engine design capable of reaching a maximum speed of Mach 2.35 (2,500 km/h). .
The Su-27 is equipped with a single 30 mm cannon and 10 "air-to-air", heat-seeking, short-range and medium-range missiles. It has many distinct variations that have brought many feats as well as wide popularity. One of them can be mentioned as the fifth generation jet fighter Sukhoi Su-57, which is still on the list of top modern aircraft today.
General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
The F-111 is an American supersonic, medium-range tactical attack aircraft and is now retired.
Not only serving tactical attack missions, F-111 also performs other types of missions such as strategic nuclear bombing, air identification and electronic warfare. Top speed: 2,655 km/h.
McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
Most people consider the F-15 to be one of the most successful fighters and fastest jets ever created. It is still in service with the US Air Force with a top speed of 3,017 km/h.
Nearly 1200 F-15s have been built and exported to Japan, Saudi Arabia and Israel among other countries. It was originally designed as an air superiority aircraft but was later converted to an air-to-ground variant, the F-15E Strike Eagle.
The F-15 can carry 11 pylons with a range of Sparrow, Sidewinder, 120-AMRAAM, and self-propelled missiles. Coupled with the 20mm M61A1 Vulcan swivel cannon and tremendous speed, it's no surprise that the F-15 is a terror with over 100 confirmed victories.
The MiG-31 was created based on the design of its "predecessors" the MiG-25 and MiG-29 and shares many features. It was one of the fastest aircraft in the world, then and now, at speeds of up to Mach 2.83 (2171,372 mph) at altitude. Top speed: 3,000 km/h.
The MiG-31 is powered by a D30-F6 turbofan engine, each with a thrust of 152 kN, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.23 (932 mph) at low altitudes.
It was one of the first aircraft to be equipped with a phased array radar and as of 2013, the MiG-31 was one of only two fighters capable of free-firing "air-to-air" long-range missiles. .
In addition, the MiG-31 is the world's first fighter aircraft equipped with the Zaslon S-800, a passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar. Its range against fighter targets is about 200 km, and can simultaneously track 10 targets and strike four of them with Vympel R-33 missiles.
Aircraft manufactured since 1975, the Russian Air Force and Kazakhstan Air Force are still using the MiG-31 and will continue to operate until 2030 or possibly later.
North American XB-70 Valkyrie
The North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie is a prototype model of the US Air Force's nuclear-armed, deep-penetrating strategic bomber, the B-70. Top speed: 3,309 km/h.
In the late 1950s, the Soviet Union presented its first surface-to-air missiles, which posed a threat to the B-70's invulnerability. After that, the US Air Force (USAF) had to perform their missions at low altitudes where the visibility of the missile radar was limited because of the geographical features of the terrain.
The B-70 added a number of features in the low-level penetration role compared to the B-52 model, which was supposed to be replaced because of its expensive but low range.
This is America's shortest research aircraft, first flown in 1955 and retired in 1956. Top speed: 3,370 km/h. The study is part of the X-2 program, its investigative significance being to evaluate the characteristics of aircraft at speeds greater than Mach 2.0.
Not equipped with weapons such as a rocket launcher, the Bell X-2 had a reverse sweep wing design that could create little air resistance and reached the astonishing speed of Mach 3,196 in 1956. However, flying at that time. The pilot accidentally made a sharp turn shortly after reaching high speed and lost control, forcing an emergency jump out of the plane. Unfortunately, the fatal accident happened because he hit the ground too quickly. The Starbuster program was then forced to stop.
Mikoyan MiG-25 (NATO reporting name: Foxbat)
It is one of the fastest military jets of the former Soviet Union. It was developed to intercept American fighter aircraft during the cold war such as the Blackbird SR 71 Blackbird and reconnaissance aircraft. Top speed: 3,494 km/h.
Unlike the Blackbird, the Foxbat is armed with four "air-to-air" missiles that make it an interceptor rather than a spy plane. Although it never shot down the Blackbird, it has made many effective contributions to other missions, such as during the Iran-Iraq conflict.
Between 1964 and 1984, more than 1100 Foxbats were built, but today it serves only in limited numbers, with Russia, Syria, Algeria and Turkmenistan being the only countries using it.
The Lockheed YF-12 is a prototype interceptor aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin and tested in the 1960s by the US Air Force. The YF-12 and SR 71 have a lot in common because they share the same designer, Clarence "Kelly" Johnson. It is the largest, heaviest and fastest interceptor in the world to date.
Top speed: 3,661 km/h.
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
The SR 71 Blackbird is the fastest fighter aircraft in the world. Both the USAF and NASA used the SR 71 Blackbird after it was launched in 1966. Top speed: 3,529 km/h.
32 Blackbirds were built and served for reconnaissance and research testing. Equipped with stealth technology, even when detected by enemy fighters, it can still escape easily with its incredible speed. The SR 71 Blackbird can easily outrun interceptors or surface-to-air missiles launched towards it.