22 of The Fastest Aircraft in The World
Although not a definitive list (as with all technologies, things develop at a rapid speed) and including some experimental projects and projected speeds, we've taken a look at some of the fastest aircraft developed in the world. Usually developed as military projects, the advancement of technology has seen some incredibly rapid vehicles flying through our skies. Here we look at the 22 of the fastest (as of writing - not necessarily the fastest) and countdown to number 1.
22. F-117 Nighthawk
Top Speed: 617mph
Time To Circumnavigate the Globe: 40.36 hours
A secretive project that saw a twin-engine, single seater plane developed for the US military. Operational from 1983, it saw action in the Gulf War 1991 and during the Yugoslavia conflict 1999 where one was shot down making it the only one ever lost in combat. Retired in April 2008.
21. B-2 Spirit
Top Speed: 630 mph
Time To Circumnavigate the Globe: 39.53 hours
Commonly known as the stealth bomber, it was designed so as to not be seen on radar (although radar technology has since developed). Used in Kosovo 1999, it also saw action in Afghanistan and Iraq.
20. F-35 Lightning II
Top Speed: 1,200mph
Time To Circumnavigate the Globe: 20.75 hours
Designed to perform ground attacks and aerial reconnaissance it is a descendant of the F-25 and the F-35 projects and as of 2014, 115 have been built.
19. F22 Raptor
Top Speed: 1,497mph
Time to Circumnavigate the Globe: Unknown
This Lockheed Martin model is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather extraordinaire. Built for the United States Air Force, the F22 Raptor can pick up some serious speed, with a top speed mooted to be around the 2,410 km mark.
Unsurprisingly, the unit cost to manufacture a bad boy like this sets the American government back around $150m.
18. Convair B-58 Hustler
Cost: $12.44m (per unit)
Top Speed: 1,300 mph
Time To Circumnavigate the Globe: 27 hours (approx)
The Convair B-58 Hustler was the first operational jet bomber capable of Mach 2 flight and was designed to be able to evade Soviet fighters at the time by being able to fly at supersonic speeds at high altitudes but the introduction of highly-accurate Soviet surface-to-air missiles forced the B-58 into a low-level-penetration role that severely limited its range and strategic value, and it was never employed to deliver conventional bombs despite being capable of carrying 5 nuclear weapons. Only operational between 1960 and 1970, the B-58 was notorious for its sonic boom, which was often heard by the public as it passed overhead in supersonic flight
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