I don't understand the bolded part. Drawing up design? What? They cannot or did not come up with an agreement to purchase the jets?
They likely want to tinker with the design a bit more and have not got a fully finalised design yet.
Pretty clear the treasury has been asking for delays in some spending to spread the cost and MiG has clearly stated they would like more time to get the MiG-35 design just right before they commit to serial production... sounds like it suits both sides so who are we to complain?
I would say that a new single jet engined aircraft should have been made or designed.
It would take a lot of stupidity for any Russian design bureau to design a single engine light fighter knowing that their primary customer has clearly stated they are not interested in single engined birds. The cost of such an expensive gamble could break the company.
Think about it, Zhuk-A radar aircraft using RD-93 engines, onboard computer as well as OLS from Su-35 and some LO material technology from PAK FA program. Borrow already technologies existing, and push for its development. That could very well lower the price of the aircraft as well as be able to build them en mass for cheaper.
Why use RD-93 engines? They are just RD-33s with the gearbox on the opposite side. The RD-333 Sea Wasp engine is rather more powerful (9tons thrust vs 8.3 tons thrust) and better newer technology.
As a light 5th gen fighter single engines only make sense for VSTOL... without putting that lode stone around its neck having two engines means they can be separated and the gap between used for internal weapons bays...
This is quite frankly a far better prognosis than several years ago.
And rather better shape than most other airforces that still operate a large number of legacy fighters and bombers.
USA alone is replacing over 2000 aircrafts with F-35's.
Believe it when I see it.
They also said it would be cheap...
Downsizing the airforce is kinda dangerous and stupid, as the airforce is probably one of the most important aspects of the Russian military as a whole, as they deal with land, air and sea operations in protecting their own borders, and they are even more important now, since Russia's navy is being rebuilt entirely.
Having thousands of planes makes little sense in this day and age. The new aircraft they are deploying are orders of magnitude more capable than the planes the Soviets had in service so there is no need to replace them one for one.
New weapons will make new planes more effective but also the new VKO branch will be improved to the point where objects over Russian airspace or space will be spotted and aircraft directed to deal with the problem. Having thousands of aircraft to fight NATO is pointless and expensive... especially when the price of the new planes is rather more than the older simpler types too. The difference is that the new planes will be tied in to a fully digital network with force multipliers and support aircraft.
But it needs to be better than that.
The threat now is greatly reduced and the solution no longer needs to be a long war and tea and biscuits on the English Channel by Tuesday... the solution is a tactical nuke up the wazoo and a threat of more to follow if you don't pull your head in.
So I suppose the upgrading of the Su-24's and MiG-29SMT's, as well as MiG-31's are very much important to the integrity of the Russian federation. But they will have to be able to deal with modern threats.
Upgrades greatly improve performance with greatly reduces short term costs. Older airframes need to be replaced sooner but they now have replacements ready for them so that is not really a concern either.
SMT is an upgrade of older variants (9.12 and 9.13). It cannot be built from scratch and it wouldn't make any sense. Maybe the Fulcrum fleet is not as in bad condition as we think.
They have plenty in storage AFAIK... a delay of 1-2 years would mean 24 or so aircraft not being built so 24 SMT upgrades shouldn't be that hard to organise...