6. XB-70 Valkyrie

Image: Wired

The XB-70 Valkyrie was considered unique at the time due to its six engines that allowed it to fly at a top velocity of Mach 3. However, flying at this speed resulted in the aircraft’s frame heating up to 330-degrees in some areas. The United States felt the extreme speed was necessary to be able to accelerate away from Soviet interceptors and to escape nuclear bomb blasts. Only two were ever built and the model has since been retired.

5. Bell-X2 Starbuster

Image: Bell X-2

A research aircraft that was powered by rockets, the Bell X-2 was designed to investigate effects of aerodynamic heating. The program launched in 1945 to explore the problems of supersonic flight and was once able to achieve a stunning speed of Mach 3.196 in 1956. Unfortunately, after one fatal test that took the life of the pilot, the program was shutdown for good.

4. MiG-25 Foxbat

Image: The Bombay Bugle

A super fast interceptor and bomber aircraft, the MiG-25 was designed by the Soviet Union and has speeds not matched to this day. It entered service in 1970 and had the ability to reach a top speed of Mach 3.2, although it was determined the engines would blow up if they maintained that speed for too long. The aircraft had a very powerful radar and could launch up to four air-to-air missiles.

3. Lockheed YF-12

Image: Wikipedia

The YF-12 was an interceptor prototype developed by the United States that was able to reach top speeds of Mach 3.35. The aircraft featured three air-to-air missiles and only three were ever built before the program shutdown after being proven not to be viable.

2. SR-71 Blackbird

Introduced in 1966, the Blackbird has been utilized by both the United States Air Force and NASA. Over the course of the Blackbird program, 32 models were built in an effort to continue reconnaissance and experimental research. The SR-71 featured stealth technology that if spotted it could outrun surface-to-air missiles and interceptors. According to records, the Blackbird could achieve speeds of up to Mach 3.2.

1. North American X-15

Image: Aviation CV

The X-15 is at the top of our list when it comes to the fastest and most deadliest aircraft in the world. Its maximum speed can reach Mach 6.7 and it has the ability to remain stable at top speeds. Due to the high level of velocities the X-15 operated at, the aircraft did not use traditional steering and used rocket thrusters instead. Pretty crazy, right?