96 aircraft is a pathetic number.
It is a pathetic number of I-16s with rifle calibre machine guns against well trained German pilots in vastly superior fighters.
It is an excellent number for use against quarter billion dollar western equivalents.
the simple fact is that Russia is not the Soviet Union and you simply can't compare an Su-35S produced now with an Su-27 from the early 1980s.
Russias military is down sizing and simply doesn't need thousands of planes... what it really needs is 500-600 planes, plus the modern capable munitions that make them orders of magnitude more effective than previous gen aircraft.
An Su-35S with 6 R-37M missiles with an effective range of 280km, and still room on the weapon pylons for 8 more missiles is very formidible, and a MiG-35 with 10 wing hard points is almost as useful.
The number of T-50's proposed, 250, is a pathetic number too, when Soviet Union was able to produce 500 MiG-31's and far more MiG-29's, Su-27's and fielding previous gen aircrafts at same time. Russia put all the others in reserve, graveyard, while operating a pathetic fleet of MiG-29's, Su-27's and Su-24's with a few modern jets here and there. So Russia is in no position to even defend itself conventionally. Su-35's to replace all Su-27's and MiG-35 to replace all MiG-29's plus upgrade all current MiG-29's and replacing Su-24's 1 to 1 with Su-34's is where they need to go, or they will be heavily under protected and heavily outgunned real quick.
Yet spending all that money on fighter aircraft didn't save the Soviet Union... it was that excess spending that did them in... and you want them to repeat the mistake?
Is there anymore orders for further MiG-29SMT? There is quite a few MiG-29's in service so upgrading them shouldn't be that costly, no?
For two decades the MiGs received little use but also little maintainence and they are of a different design to the current production models.
The MiG-29M2 is the new airframe that has potential to be given upgrades to MiG-29K2 or MiG-35. the old model MiG-29s can only be upgraded to MiG-29SMT level, which is fully multirole but not startling in performance.
A lot of tasks will in future be performed by unmanned aircraft so having a huge manned fleet doesn't really make that much sense.
Having a small air force is only a bad thing if you don't upgrade to modern capable multirole aircraft with old dumb munitions...
New air to air missiles will transform all modern Russian fighters...