Special Report

Ranking of All Modern Fighter Jets from Slowest to Fastest

KuntalSaha / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

In the decades since the humble beginnings of the first military plane, the 1909 Wright Military Flyer purchased by the Aeronautical Division of the then-U.S. Army Signal Corps, the field of aviation has evolved tremendously. The 1909 Wright Military Flyer was constructed of wood and muslin and traveled at a top speed of 42.5 mph. Although this first aircraft was never used in combat, it was used to train pilots and paved the way for aviation of the future. 

It wasn’t until the Second World War that the United States began to invest heavily in aircraft, and today they are used in practically every aspect of society, including waging war. Military aircraft, in particular, saw rapid evolution in just a few decades, from basic reconnaissance biplanes to $100 million fighter jets.

Now in its fifth generation, the modern fighter jet boasts a wide range of new technology, including stealth, low-probability-of-intercept radar, and supercruise performance, which is a core requirement for the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Tactical Fighter program. From a top speed of 42 mph, today’s fighter jets fly at supersonic speed. The new F-35 Lightning II is pushing top speeds close to 1,200 mph — and there are faster jets still.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed Military Factory’s catalogs of aircraft – from third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation to determine the ranking of all modern fighter jets from slowest to fastest.  Each aircraft was ranked by its maximum speed, and supplemental information from Military Factory regarding the type of aircraft, the year it was introduced, country of origin, manufacturer, and production was included. Aircraft that did not make it out of the prototype or proposal stage were excluded.

The majority of fighter jets mentioned here were built in the 1970s or later, and while this might suggest newer jets are faster, this is not necessarily the case. There are technological and biological limiting factors to consider when designing high-speed aircraft, and the focus of militaries in recent decades has been to improve stealth capabilities and modernize fleet technology as opposed to focusing on speed.

An iconic aircraft near the top of this list is the F-14 Tomcat, despite entering service in 1974. This fighter jet was capable of hitting roughly 1,550 mph, just over Mach 2, making it an ideal naval interceptor in the latter stages of the Cold War. The F-14 Tomcat also made an appearance in the film “Top Gun,” solidifying its spot in American culture. (These are the 24 planes that form the backbone of the U.S. Air Force.)

Here is a ranking of all modern fighter jets from slowest to fastest. 

42. AV-8B Harrier II

Source: Stocktrek Images / Stocktrek Images via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 665 mph
  • Type: Short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) strike aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1985
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing / BAe Systems
  • Production run: 500

41. Sukhoi Su-17 / Su-20 / Su-22 (Fitter)

  • Maximum speed: 718 mph
  • Type: Strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1970
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi
  • Production run: 2,867

40. KAI KF-16 Fighting Falcon

Source: Public Domain / Defense Visual Information Distribution Service
  • Maximum speed: 870 mph
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1991
  • Country of origin: South Korea
  • Manufacturer: Korean Aerospace Industries
  • Production run: 140

39. F-16V (Viper)

Source: usembassyjakarta / Flickr
  • Maximum speed: 917 mph
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2017
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin / Hellenic Aerospace Industry
  • Production run: 100

38. Xian JH-7 (Flounder) / FBC-1 (Flying Leopard)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Maximum speed: 1,118 mph
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1992
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation
  • Production run: 240

37. F/A-18 Super Hornet

  • Maximum speed: 1,187 mph
  • Type: Carrier-based strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1999
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing
  • Production run: 615

36. F/A-18 Hornet

Source: JohnnyPowell / E+ via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,190 mph
  • Type: Carrier-based strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1983
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing / Northrop
  • Production run: 1,480

35. F-35 Lightning II

  • Maximum speed: 1,199 mph
  • Type: Advanced multi-role strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2016
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin / Northrop Grumman / BAe Systems
  • Production run: 785

34. PAC JF-17 Thunder

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Maximum speed: 1,218 mph
  • Type: Lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2007
  • Country of origin: Pakistan
  • Manufacturer: Pakistan Aeronautical Complex
  • Production run: 132

33. HAL Tejas LCA

  • Maximum speed: 1,227 mph
  • Type: Lightweight multirole fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2015
  • Country of origin: India
  • Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
  • Production run: 33

32. Shenyang J-15 (Flying Shark)

  • Maximum speed: 1,305 mph
  • Type: Carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2013
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Shenyang Aircraft Corporation / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Production run: 25

31. Chengdu J-20 (Black Eagle)

  • Maximum speed: 1,305 mph
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2017
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC) / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Production run: 55

30. Mirage III

Source: edurivero / Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,312 mph
  • Type: Interceptor aircraft / Strike fighter
  • Year introduced: 1961
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
  • Production run: 1,422

29. F-16 Fighting Falcon

Source: Stocktrek Images / Stocktrek Images via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,317 mph
  • Type: Lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1978
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: General Dynamics / Lockheed Martin
  • Production run: 4,604

28. Sukhoi Su-30 (Flanker-C)

Source: scaliger / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,317 mph
  • Type: Twin-engine air superiority strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1996
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi Design Bureau
  • Production run: 635

27. JAS 39 Gripen (Griffin)

Source: dynasoar / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,370 mph
  • Type: Lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1997
  • Country of origin: Sweden
  • Manufacturer: Saab AB
  • Production run: 247

26. F-CK-1 (Ching-Kuo)

  • Maximum speed: 1,379 mph
  • Type: Lightweight multirole fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1994
  • Country of origin: Taiwan
  • Manufacturer: Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation
  • Production run: 131

25. Dassault Rafale

Source: Andrew_Harker / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,383 mph
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2001
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
  • Production run: 201

24. MiG-21 (Fishbed)

Source: VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,386 mph
  • Type: Single-seat supersonic fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1959
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan-Gurevich
  • Production run: 11,496

23. Chengdu J-10 (Vicious Dragon)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Maximum speed: 1,452 mph
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2005
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC) / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Production run: 350

22. Mirage F1

Source: Maltaguy1 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,453 mph
  • Type: Interceptor aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1973
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
  • Production run: 750

21. Shenyang J-8 / J-8 II (Finback)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Maximum speed: 1,453 mph
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1980
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Aviation Industry Corporation of China
  • Production run: 325

20. Mirage 2000 (M2000)

  • Maximum speed: 1,453 mph
  • Type: Strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1979
  • Country of origin: France
  • Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
  • Production run: 611

19. F-4 Phantom II

Source: VanderWolf-Images / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,473 mph
  • Type: Carrier-based strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1960
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas
  • Production run: 5,195

18. MiG-35 (Fulcrum-F)

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Maximum speed: 1,491 mph
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2020
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Russian Aircraft Corporation MIG
  • Production run: 10

17. Panavia Tornado ECR

  • Maximum speed: 1,491 mph
  • Type: Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) Aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1990
  • Country of origin: Germany
  • Manufacturer: Panavia Aircraft GmbH / British Aviation Systems / MBB
  • Production run: 52

16. Panavia Tornado IDS

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr
  • Maximum speed: 1,491 mph
  • Type: Low-level strike aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1979
  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Manufacturer: Panavia Aircraft GmbH / British Aviation Systems
  • Production run: 400

15. Sukhoi Su-35 (Flanker-E / Super Flanker)

Source: Flight Video & Photo / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,491 mph
  • Type: Multi-role heavy combat fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2014
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi OKB
  • Production run: 130

14. IAI Kfir (Lion Cub)

  • Maximum speed: 1,516 mph
  • Type: Multi-role combat aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1976
  • Country of origin: Israel
  • Manufacturer: Israel Aircraft Industries
  • Production run: 230

13. MiG-29 (Fulcrum)

Source: Milous / iStock via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,519 mph
  • Type: Lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1984
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan OKB / United Aircraft Corporation
  • Production run: 1,625

12. Grumman F-14 Tomcat

Source: Willard / iStock via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,544 mph
  • Type: Swing-wing, carrier-based fleet defense fighter
  • Year introduced: 1974
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft
  • Production run: 712

11. Eurofighter Typhoon (EF2000)

  • Maximum speed: 1,550 mph
  • Type: Fighter-bomber aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2003
  • Country of origin: Germany
  • Manufacturer: BAe Systems / Eurofighter GmbH
  • Production run: 570

10. MiG-23 (Flogger)

  • Maximum speed: 1,553 mph
  • Type: Swing-wing fighter-interceptor aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1970
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan-Gurevich
  • Production run: 5,047

9. Mitsubishi F-2

  • Maximum speed: 1,553 mph
  • Type: Multi-role fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2000
  • Country of origin: Japan
  • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi / Lockheed Martin
  • Production run: 98

8. Shenyang J-11 (Flanker B+)

  • Maximum speed: 1,553 mph
  • Type: Multi-role air superiority fighter
  • Year introduced: 1998
  • Country of origin: China
  • Manufacturer: Shenyang Aircraft Corporation / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
  • Production run: 255

7. Sukhoi Su-27 (Flanker)

Source: Jozsef Soos / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,553 mph
  • Type: Multi-role air superiority fighter
  • Year introduced: 1985
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi OKB / United Aircraft Corporation
  • Production run: 809

6. Sukhoi Su-33 (Flanker-D)

  • Maximum speed: 1,553 mph
  • Type: Carrier-based air defense fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1994
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi OKB
  • Production run: 35

5. F-22 Raptor

  • Maximum speed: 1,599 mph
  • Type: Air dominance fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2005
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Boeing / Lockheed Martin
  • Production run: 195

4. Sukhoi Su-57 (Felon)

Source: Dmitry Potashkin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Maximum speed: 1,616 mph
  • Type: Multi-role stealth aircraft
  • Year introduced: 2019
  • Country of origin: Russia
  • Manufacturer: Sukhoi OKB / United Aircraft Corporation
  • Production run: 25

3. F-15E Strike Eagle

  • Maximum speed: 1,653 mph
  • Type: Strike fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1988
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing
  • Production run: 420

2. Mig-31 (Foxhound)

  • Maximum speed: 1,864 mph
  • Type: Supersonic interceptor aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1979
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan OKB / United Aircraft Corporation
  • Production run: 500

1. F-15 Eagle

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Maximum speed: 1,875 mph
  • Type: Air superiority fighter aircraft
  • Year introduced: 1976
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing
  • Production run: 1,500

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