Is the SR-71 still the fastest aircraft?

Philip Hamm

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Maybe because the X-15 was an experimental aircraft that never made "production" status. The SR-71/YF12A and Mig-25 were made in numbers that allowed them to be operational warplanes, which is truly remarkable in both cases.
 

alan halvorson

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I seem to recall that while the Mig-25 Foxbat go awfully fast, engine life at it's higher speeds was very, very short. I seem to recall 25 hours and less.
 

BrianW

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I pretty much assumed the conversation was restricted to air-breathers because of the challenge that imposes to attaining top speed. Otherwise, the simple answer is that there are plenty of known vehicles that fly faster than the SR-71. When you go sticking rockets on things, that challenge is circumvented, and the sky is the limit.

Well, actually, the sky isn't the limit, but you know what I mean.
 

Ray Chuang

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The MiG-25R reconnaissance version usually cruised at around Mach 2.5 at 65,000 feet but could dash to Mach 3.1 for short bursts. This is based on information from the Indian Air Force, which flew them on reconnaissance missions along the India-Pakistan border and sometimes into Pakistan itself.
 

Philip Hamm

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Well, if by "into" you mean 65,000-90,000 feet above...
Lots of info on the wikipedia site. I actually am more impressed by the MiG-25 than the Blackbird for many reasons, not the least of which is that they manufactured well over 1,000 of them and exported them to other countries, while only a handful of SR-71/YF12As were ever made.
 

Mark Leiter

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That really is not an entirely accurate statement. The "X" designation of the X aircraft program was not to signify a proposed design that was later discarded as a failure, but rather a aircraft that was designed as a pure research vehicle. The X-15 in fact is regarded as the most successful X plane ever built. The original goal for the X-15 was to achieve mach 6 and 250,00 ft of altitude. Over the 10 year X-15 program the 3 planes built made 199 total flights. Eventually achieving a speed of 6.7 Mach and 354,000 ft of altitude. Far surpassing the original design requirements.
 

Philip Hamm

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This sentence agrees with the statement I made. By "production" I mean an aircraft which has a designated and routine strategic military or commercial mission, not just research.
 

Kirk Gunn

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Thanks for the Wiki on the Global Hawk. A friend in aircraft design for the Navy touted the future of unmanned vehicles to me 15+ yrs ago, but never knew how fast it would catch on:


My wife's a flight attendant.... I guess she's next once the automated beverage carts get FAA approval


"Welcome aboard flight xyz, in the event of an emergency, please follow the instructions of the automated beverage cart. They are here for your safety"
 

JeremyErwin

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It's my understanding that "Y" is the prefix given to prototypes that may or may not be deployed by the air force. For instance, Northrup and Boing both sought to win the advanced tactical fighter contract. Northrup's proposal was the YF-23, and Boeing came up with the YF-22, which was re-designated "F-22" when the latter's proposal won out.
 

LDfan

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I'm a little late to this one but I second the Mig-25 as being a close runner up. Damn impressive stats although fairly useless as a dog-fighter though. The Soviets realized this and developed the Mig-31.

Jeff
 

Edwin-S

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NASA has demonstrated a ramjet powered vehicle that reached a speed of Mach10. However, being unmanned AND experimental, it would not qualify to supplant the SR71 as the fastest production plane built.
 

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