The Russian Federation's Rostec aviation export consortium is offering the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) the YAK-130, a new advanced trainer/light jet fighter, to supplement, if not replace, several of the high-performance combat aircraft in the RMAF's inventory.
Like many countries, unless it conducts a thorough assessment of the Russian proposed arms purchase, it risks wasting precious defense funding merely for political symbolism. Given the inevitable budgetary pressures stemming from the global pandemic, countries need to search for cost efficient approaches to any defense purchases.
To support U.S. government foreign assistance training for nations on how to comply with U.S. and U.N. sanctions, the RAND Corporation analyzed open source information on Russian arms sales around the globe.
One of the findings from analyzing this source material is that countries sometimes buy armaments to politically balance between the major powers. One implication of these symbolic arms purchases is that it skews precious national resources to weaponry that may not be a good fit.
In several cases, national militaries have compared alternative systems, made a purchase recommendation on technical analysis, and then had their recommendation ignored as political leaders sought to use arms purchases to demonstrate their foreign policy independence. The potential RMAF purchase of the Yak-130 is an example of this type of arms deal. (end of excerpt)
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