So what happens when the amount of Su-25 airframes runs out due to wear and tear and combat losses? Restart production lines? Spend 2 decades developing and testing a replacement?
Why not both?
Russia had the production facilities to build the two seat model aircraft, which was used for the Su-25T and Su-25TM upgrades, both of which were considered too expensive to bother producing... the Su-25SM3 uses the normal aircraft with less internal volume for stuff, so improved upgrades in the two seat versions might be interesting.
They are developing drones and buying a huge ammount ka-52 and mi-28 that didn't exist when su-25 was created. Both can use missiles and rockets in a much better way than su-25 which is quite old. Sm3 upgrade is good but they still use only rockets.
The Su-25TM is based on the two seat model and has more internal volume for bits and pieces... the T and the TM model added Vikhr ATGMs and I would say these new 110kg missiles with 30kg warheads that seem to be for replacing the Kh-25 missiles would be ideal for a new strike aircraft as well as for drones... a 40km range and perhaps carrying them on an increased number of weapon pylons... not to mention clusters of small guided bombs that could be carried in large numbers too.
The Il-102 had bombs of up to 250kg size that could be carried internally in a bomb bay mounted in the wings, but their new rocket pods are boxes and would be an absolutely ideal shape to form part of the wing... lowered for firing and loading, while retracted for low drag (not even a weapon pylon).
Rocket pods and dumb bombs are valuable weapons for such aircraft types and with modern avionics and continuously calculated ballistics computers their delivery can be surprisingly accurate and effective.
They don't need to reinvent the wheel... some sort of standardisation of MMW radar and EO systems for helicopters and aircraft and drones would be very useful and effective... larger calibre guns that don't have high velocity rounds but pack a powerful punch like those 57mm grenade launchers firing heavy HE bombs would be more effective than rocket launchers in some roles...
If there is a need they can easily set up a production line for su-25 which isn't a state of art product hard to make.
Not a complex or expensive plane.
They only use rockets for the SM3 because potbelly dinosaurs think only rockets are useful. The SM3 can shoot X-29T, Vikhr, X-29L, Grom, X-38, UPAB, drel, Izd.305, S-25L, etc.
You are not listening... when the enemy is 100 men spread out over a large area either running forward to attack or back to escape a missile like Vikhr or Grom or even a 250kg bomb is not that useful... with them spread out and the concentration of the blast you might only get 4-8 men with each hit if you are very lucky.
With unguided rockets or cannon shells you can spray the field with dozens of explosives each of which might be dangerous to 10-20m in radius, but again all hitting close together is a bad thing because your 10-20m kill radius is for each munition or shell so having them all hit together concentrates your fragments into a small area.
A volley of rockets spread over a large area where no two rockets land within 10m of the other offers a good spread of fragments making it likely you will kill or injure a much larger portion of the enemy.
Lofting those in the air has been shown on video to spread the rockets out beautifully... this is terrible for use against a truck or tank, but for enemy troops in the open it is the best option... the only other option that comes close is very high speed aircraft releasing cluster bombs from a higher altitude than normal that really spreads out the submunitions... but most western countries get shitty when other countries do that.
New mini guided munitions means aircraft with lots of wing pylons become more interesting and multi ejector racks for tiny guided missiles becomes interesting... whether that is the Kh-25 replacement or even just Vikhr pylons... I would say Vikhr and another similar setup for SOSNA/Pine would be excellent... both are guided and have decent range... PINE has excellent speed and would be very good for air and ground targets too, and Vikhr is the same but slower (1,200m/s vs 600m/s), but the new rocket pods would be a core part of the aircrafts armament.