Which is the best fighter jet in the world

The fastest fighter jet in the world is more than 50 years old

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  • The fastest fighter jet in the world was built by the Soviet Union more than 50 years ago.
  • The history of the so-called Foxbat can be traced back to the context of the Cold War. However, due to fateful events, the fighter jet quickly lost its importance.
  • Nevertheless, the Foxbat remained in operation even after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • You can find more articles from Business Insider here.

The fastest jet in the world? It is easy. Most people know this is the SR-71. It's the reconnaissance plane that's so fast it can overtake missiles. But the fastest fighter jet? Well, the Soviets built a fighter plane to chase after the SR-71 Blackbird. It was so fast that it is still the fastest fighter jet ever built. And it's still in operation today.

The MiG-25 Foxbat looks clumsy and angular next to fourth and fifth generation fighter jets. Its successor, the MiG-29, is much more elegant. And the aggressive-looking F-35, F-22 and even the Su-57 fighter jets are much better suited as wall decorations than the Foxbat.

Arms race: MiG emerged as a reaction to the SR-71

For comparison: The Foxbat looks almost like a suitcase truck. You could even compare it to an old Chrysler LeBaron. But only if that Chrysler LeBaron could sweep down a drag strip at speeds that exceed its competitors by 60 percent.

The story of Foxbat is quite simple. Once the Soviet Union understood how the SR-71 worked, it was believed that the move from a reconnaissance aircraft that could travel at three times the speed of sound to a bomber that could do the same was large, but not impossible. So the Soviet Union had to reckon with US bombers that were able to escape ground-guided missiles.

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And so they set to work to develop a fighter jet that could move on the edge of space with the SR-71 and the planned XB-70 Valkyrie. They knew that it was unlikely that they could create a fighter jet that could fly faster than a reconnaissance plane. But they saw a chance that he could fly faster than the bomber plane. After all, this carries more weight.

Since there was a lack of knowledge about materials that would make airframes as light as those of the SR-71 possible, the next best solution was simply sought. This was found in engines that were so powerful that they could carry the nickel-steel metal frame at record heights and speeds.

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The engineers from the Mikoyan-Gurwitsch design office were also among the best engine developers in the world. They came up with a twin-jet turbine design that could propel the MiG to speeds of up to Mach 2.8 (equivalent to around 3,500 kilometers per hour) when in operation. The speed could even be increased up to 3.2 Mach (about 4,000 kilometers per hour) if the pilots were willing to put the machines at risk. The aircraft achieved world records for speed, ascent time, and altitude for jet fighter jets.

Fateful Events: The Foxbat loses its meaning

And that scared the US and the rest of NATO. So the Foxbat was not only incredibly fast and powerful. The design also suggested that the aircraft was maneuverable. This was a design feature that the US sought for its aircraft.

However, two events ultimately turned the fate of the Foxbat. One turned the fighter jet into an aircraft without a mission. The second resulted in a change in the perception of the aircraft, so that pilots were relieved of the fear of a possible encounter with the machine.

First, there was a catastrophic plane crash that killed two pilots and destroyed the test aircraft, the XB-70 Valkyrie, valued at US $ 500 million. Even before the crash, the program had significant money problems. After the fatal crash, the program was then discontinued. Suddenly there was no longer a bomber plane that the Foxbat should have hunted. The most important mission of the Soviet aircraft planners was thus limited to avoiding American superiority in the airspace.

And then in 1976 a Soviet pilot defected to the Japanese in his MiG-25. NATO thus gained knowledge of the Foxbat and found that the fighter jet was actually not good enough.

The MiG-25 lacked significant technology

When they disassembled the aircraft, studied it carefully, reassembled it, and then tested it, American engineers found that while the Foxbat would always have an advantage over NATO aircraft in terms of speed and altitude, it could not use that advantage. Because the Foxbat did not have a radar system with deep vision capabilities.

Also read: Caution, Russia: Why the US is sending B-52 bombers into the sky right in the middle of Europe

Without getting too bogged down in technical details: a radar that is able to both look ahead and look down without getting confused because of the ground echo is really difficult to design. And the Soviets had not yet succeeded in this. Foxbat pilots would be forced to decrease in altitude in order to attack other fighter jets.

Foxbat remains operational

And once the Foxbat is at the same altitude as its opponents, it would be an easily attackable target. Although the Foxbat was undoubtedly incredibly fast, it wasn't really maneuverable. It was unlikely that the Foxbat could dodge a missile or win a dogfight. With a few modifications, even aircraft like the F-4 Phantom could rout the Foxbat or put it out of service altogether.

And yet, the Foxbat remained in service in what is now Russia even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And it's still the fastest and highest flying fighter jet in the world. The Foxbat can carry the full combat load so high that tears run from the pilot's eyes. However, all of this is quite meaningless, for there is nothing up in the air for the Foxbat to face.

This text has been translated from English. You can find the original article on "We are the Mighty".