Slide 1 of 23
Aviation has come a long way since the intrepid Wright brothers made the first powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight in 1903. More than a century has passed since that fateful morning in Kitty Hawk, N.C., and since then, engineers have created planes that can fly higher and faster than Wilbur and Orville Wright likely ever imagined.
Here are 10 of the fastest military airplanes.
F-35 Lightning IISlide 2 of 23
F-35 Lightning II
The F-35 Lightning II is the U.S. military's next-generation fighter jet, billed as the most advanced warplane of its type yet developed. The single-seat, single-engine aircraft features advanced stealth capabilities, combined with improved avionics and sensors.
The F-35 has a maximum speed of Mach 1.6, which is 1.6 times the speed of sound, or about 1,200 mph (1,930 km/h).
Despite boasting of unparalleled capabilities, the F-35 program has been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Still, the fighter jets are expected to eventually replace aging warplanes in the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.Slide 3 of 23
Su-27 FlankerSlide 4 of 23
The Sukhol Su-27 is a twin-engine fighter plane built by the former U.S.S.R., in an attempt to outdo similarly advanced American aircraft. The plane made its first flight in May 1977, and officially entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1985. The aircraft can reach a maximum supersonic speed of Mach 2.35 (1,550 mph, or 2,500 km/h), which is 2.35 times the speed of sound.
The Su-27 earned a reputation of being one of the most capable fighters of its time, and some remain in military use in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine.Slide 5 of 23
F-111 AardvarkSlide 6 of 23
The F-111 Aardvark was a tactical strike aircraft developed in the 1960s by General Dynamics. The two-person plane first entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 1967, and was used for strategic bombing campaigns, gathering reconnaissance and performing electronic warfare. The F-111 was able to fly at speeds of Mach 2.5 (1,650 mph, or 2,655 km/h), or 2.5 times the speed of sound.
The F-111 Aardvark was widely used during the Vietnam War, but was phased out of use by the U.S. Air Force in 1998.Slide 7 of 23
F-15 EagleSlide 8 of 23