Taiwan celebrates Armed Forces Day today, including with a lighting display at its landmark skyscraper Taipei 101. But the festivities – which mark Taiwan’s victory over Japan in World War 2 – are overshadowed by its growing tensions with China. Beijing, which views Taiwan as its territory, has ramped up its military activity near the self-governing island nation in recent weeks.
China conducted live-fire drills off Taiwan last month, while this week Taipei shot down what was believed to have been a Chinese drone for the first time.
Beijing was angered by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s August visit to the island and has been further enraged by the Biden administration’s $1.1billion (£950million) arms deal with Taipei announced on Friday.
The US weapons package includes air-to-air missiles to help Taiwan defend itself against Chinese fighter jets, dozens of which strayed into Taiwan’s air defence zone throughout August.
Amid the tensions, the best fighter jets in the world have been compared by military experts.
The world’s most advanced and most expensive fighter jet is the F-22 Raptor made by Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Analysts broadly agree that this fighter aircraft is the most superior of its kind due its impressive array of weaponry.
Its potential loadout includes one cannon, six medium-range air-to-air missiles and two short-range air-to-air missiles or six 2,000-pound bombs and four air-to-air missiles.
Meanwhile, the aircraft is almost invisible to radars and can travel further than almost all its counterparts.
The F-22’s range of 2,002 miles is only outmatched by Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA, which has a maximum range of 2,474 miles.
The Russian fighter jet is capable of carrying one cannon and eight medium-range air-to-air missiles.
But military experts believe that the F-22 would still emerge as the superior aircraft were the two jets to go head-to-head.
However, a more likely head-to-head in the current climate would be between Chinese and Taiwanese fighter jets.
Amid the tensions, Sun Li-fang, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s defence ministry, said that Taipei will use the current situation to improve its armed forces.
He said: “We will seize this opportunity to test all the training we normally do, and through this improve our current methods and raise our combat effectiveness.”
Taiwan’s air force relies on F-16V fighter jets, which outpace China’s J-20.
The aircraft can also travel slightly further than their Chinese counterparts without having to refuel.
Taiwan showed off its jets – the backbone of its air force – a couple of weeks ago in a demonstration in which they were equipped with US missiles.