The amount of technology that has come out of Russia and the former Soviet Union remains astounding. In addition to Tetris, space suits, and nuclear power, the nation has given the world an amazing collection of military vehicles and revolutionized air and space travel.
Among that technology are some of the fastest fighter jets ever created. Russian military manufacturers like Mikoyan and Sukhoi have been producing planes and jets and other aircraft that have been some of Russia and the U.S.S.R’s key exports. Both nations have created jets and military aircraft capable of speeds exceeding the speed of sound multiple times. But American-made jets can hold up their own against the Soviets, impressive though the Soviet ones are.
9 Soviet: SU-35: 1500 MPH
The SU-35 Flanker E manufactured by Sukhoi was prominently used from 1988 to 1995, then again after 2007 to today. The jet was an interim craft that the company produced while working on SU-57.
The jet has a maximum range of up to 2,200 miles and have a registered top speed of 1500 MPH. These jets are regularly exported from Russia to China, Indonesia, and other Russian allies.
8 American: Convair F-106: 1526 MPH
Built to prioritize speed, the F-106 had a slightly longer maximum distance and speed than the Soviet-made SU-35. The F-106 could go 1526 MPH when flying at altitude.
Although it was used mostly for test flights, it did lay the foundation for its successor, the F-4 Phantom.
7 American: Grumman F-14: 1544 MPH
While the small difference in speed between these three jets mentioned so far is somewhat negligible, the differences are still important to note to get an accurate picture of which nation makes the faster jets.
The Grumman F-14, also known as the F-14 Tomcat can go almost 1550 MPH when flying at altitude. The U.S. military began to use the F-14 Tomcat in 1974 after the F-4 Phantom was retired.
6 Soviet: SU-27: 1600 MPH
The SU- 27, a.k.k The Flanker, was designed by Sukhoi to serve as Russia/USSR’s counter to the F-15 Tomcat and the F-15 Eagle (see below) but the Eagle ended up with just a slightly higher maximum speed.
However, the SU-27 would be used as the primary backdrop for all of Sukhoi’s fighter jets to follow. It can hit upwards of 1600 MPH and has been used by Russian and Russian allied forces ever since 1985.
5 American: F-111 Aardvark: 1650 MPH
With a top speed surpassing 1600 MPH and the capability of hitting Mach 2.5 at altitude, the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark is one of the fastest jets to enter skies hanging over the United States.
While its name might sound silly to some, the machine is nothing to laugh at. It has a maximum range of over 3,600 miles and remained actively used by the U.S. military for over 30 years from 1967 to 1998.
4 American: McConnell Douglass F-15: 1650 MPH
The F-15 Eagle is in a virtual tie with the F-111 Aardvark when it comes to speed. The F-15 can also hit a max speed of 1650 MPH. The Aardvark however does have a slightly higher maximum range, the F-15 can go 3,500 miles. The jet started production in 1972, and continues to be sold to this day. this very day.
They are one of the most common jets one will find used by the Israeli Defense Forces. The F-15 is the fastest jet the U.S. produces to
3 Soviet: MiG-25: 1900 MPH
Mikoyan’s MiG-25 (a.ka. The Foxbat) is one of the fastest jets ever made. First produced in 1964, the jet embarrassed the jets in use by NATO forces, which were barely registering anything above 1,500 MPH at the time.
Although it is one of the fastest jets ever produced, it does have a lower maximum range than some of the previous entries on this list. These jets were so advanced that Russia still has several MiG-25’s still in use today.
2 Soviet: MiG-31: 1900 MPH
Most out-of-date MiG-25s have been converted, traded in for, or recycled into MiG-31s, and are also known as Foxhounds. The MiG-31 Foxhound broke several world records when it was launched in 1977, including the record for highest altitude reached in less than 5 minutes.
Like the MiG-25 it can hit nearly 2000 MPH. The MiG-31 has the privilege of being the fastest fighter jet in use by any nation to this day.
1 In Conclusion, It’s A Virtual Tie (Thanks To The 4250-MPH USAF X-15)
While the MiG-31 Foxhound might be the fastest fighter jet in use today, the honor for the fastest fighter jet ever built does belong to the United States. The USAF X-15 was a rocket-powered experimental craft and its test flights did not disappoint, it is the only jet on record to hit a max speed that surpasses 4000 MPH, that's more than twice the max speed of any other fighter jet ever made.
Sadly, while the machine is a technological marvel, funding for the project was limited and while it hit impressive speeds it was difficult to make it practical for warfare. Only three X-15’s were ever built, and the project ran out of money in the 1960s.