Military Aircraft Maximum Speeds


The true maximum speeds of most military aircraft remain classified until long after they have been withdrawn from service, so the information provided on this site and in all other public sources is probably never 100% accurate. The military and aircraft manufacturers release some information, most likely underestimating the actual performance by some amount. In case of foreign aircraft, the results we provide are often estimated based on similar aircraft and the current perceived technological state of the nation where the aircraft was built. Finally, we must remember that these results are typically provided for aircraft in a "clean" configuration meaning that no external weapons, pods, or fuel tanks are carried and the aircraft is in its most aerodynamic state. The carriage of external stores significantly increases the drag an aircraft experiences while also greatly limiting its maneuverability.

With that disclaimer aside, below are the most accurate maximum level speeds currently available for a number of world aircraft. Note that the maximum speeds are provided at some altitude since aircraft can fly faster the higher they go (due to decreased air density). A more objective comparison is the Mach number, a nondimensional value, although the Mach number is dependent on altitude (i.e. Mach 1 at sea level is 15% faster than Mach 1 at 50,000 ft).

Aircraft Speed Altitude Mach Number
SR-71 Blackbird 2,275 mph
(3,660 km/h)
80,000 ft
(24,385 m)
Mach 3.35
MiG-25 2,110 mph
(3,390 km/h)
42,650 ft
(13,000 m)
Mach 3.2
F-15 Eagle 1,650 mph
(2,655 km/h)
36,000 ft
(10,975 m)
Mach 2.5
Su-24 1,590 mph
(2,560 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 2.4
F-14 Tomcat 1,565 mph
(2,515 km/h)
36,000 ft
(10,975 m)
Mach 2.37
MiG-23 1,555 mph
(2,500 km/h)
36,000 ft
(10,975 m)
Mach 2.35
Su-27 1,555 mph
(2,500 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 2.35
MiG-29 1,520 mph
(2,445 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 2.3
J-8 1,450 mph
(2,340 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 2.2
Mirage 2000 1,455 mph
(2,340 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 2.2
Tornado 1,450 mph
(2,335 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 2.2
F-16 Fighting Falcon 1,350 mph
(2,175 km/h)
40,000 ft
(12,190 m)
Mach 2.05
MiG-21 1,355 mph
(2,175 km/h)
42,650 ft
(13,000 m)
Mach 2.05
Tu-160 1,380 mph
(2,220 km/h)
40,000 ft
(12,200 m)
Mach 2.05
F-22 Raptor 1,355 mph
(2,180 km/h)
30,000 ft
(9,150 m)
Mach 2.0
Gripen 1,320 mph
(2,125 km/h)
36,000 ft
(10,975 m)
Mach 2.0
Rafale 1,320 mph
(2,125 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 2.0
Typhoon 1,320 mph
(2,125 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 2.0
Tu-22M 1,240 mph
(2,000 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 1.88
F-18 Hornet 1,190 mph
(1,915 km/h)
40,000 ft
(12,190 m)
Mach 1.8
B-1B Lancer 1,000 mph
(1,600 km/h)
36,090 ft
(11,000 m)
Mach 1.5
B-2 Spirit 630 mph
(1,010 km/h)
40,000 ft
(12,190 m)
Mach 0.95
Tu-95 575 mph
(925 km/h)
40,010 ft
(12,205 m)
Mach 0.87

For additional aviation speeds, check out a previous question on speed records.
- answer by Jeff Scott, 10 June 2001

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