The need for speed for military aircraft has long been crucial, especially during the Cold War Era. Whether it’s to outrun the enemies, shorten the aircraft’s exposure to enemy airspace, or prevent the anti-aircraft systems from achieving a full lock and targeting it, speed has long been a reliable form of defense. This had changed in recent years when modern advances focused on stealth and progress in interception methods means the once untargetable and speedy SR-71 was no longer invulnerable.

Regardless, there are still those fastest aircraft flying and in service today that stood the test of time and remained useful and impressive even after all the modern advances that happened. Here are some of them:

McDonnell Douglas Chief Experimental Test Pilot Irving L. Burrows made the first flight of the prototype YF-15A-1-MC Eagle, 71-0280, at Edwards AFB, California on July 27, 1972

McDonnell Douglas F-15, 1,875 mph

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft that has become a symbol of the US airpower with its proportions and powerful engines. It was designed by McDonnell Douglas, which is now part of Boeing, with its early stages of development beginning in the 1960s.

The F-15 met the United States Air Force’s need for a dedicated air superiority fighter, so it’s no surprise that it was heavily armed and had an incredible performance. The Eagle first soared in July 1972 and entered service in 1976, becoming one of the most successful modern fighters with over 100 victories and no losses during aerial combat, with the majority of its hits by the Israeli Air Force. Its turbofan engines are Prat & Whitney F100-PW-220 and could produce almost 24,000 pounds of thrust each with afterburners, giving a high speed of 1,875 mph or 3,017 kph.