MBT are far ore expensive than MRAP.
They are but they are also much more survivable... you can make a T-72 able to survive direct hits from TOW... no level of protection could do that for any MRAP.
Also more importantly when this conflict is over the crews of the T-72 are more likely to be alive and can man the vehicle in a real conflict against a real enemy that is also equipped with tanks. MRAPs are really only light patrol vehicles for anti terrorist operations... when the west pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq they will likely dump their MRAPs rather than ship them home...
For 100 MBT you can get thousands of MRAP.
MBTs will have a use beyond this period of anti terrorist fighting and can control rather larger areas of ground. The biggest gun you could fit to an MRAP like a Tigr-M would be a 30mm turret which is not cheap, but its effective anti armour range would be about 2km with the gun and perhaps 2km for point targets and 4kms for area targets. Compared with a T-72 that could potshot targets out to 4-5km with the gun in the right conditions... the 125mm will hit targets out to about 11km with HE shells though obviously much less than that at night or small point targets, but being a direct fire gun it is relatively accurate out to probably 4-5km during the day. and 3-4km at night.
These days wars are counter insurgancy.
Gun platforms are always useful in any conflict... from a 23mm cannon on the back of a light truck through 57mm guns on the back of a heavy truck or a 125mm gun on a heavy armoured tracked platform like an old model tank.
MBT are not needed.
Of course they are needed... they are very useful when correctly used.
MRAP is far more survivable in modern warfare than MBT.
Not even close.
Don't get me wrong MRAPs have their use and save a lot of lives over using just unarmoured vehicles... their mobility is excellent and their fire power is reasonable... even a HMG mount with thermals and stabilised mount makes them a very capable system and effective... but in places where RPGs are plentiful a MBT is much safer, though not completely safe either.
No country is making manned planes anymore. Jet powered drones like Cloud Shadow is the future of warfare. Modern warfare is counter insurgency. Manned jets are too expensive for that. Manned planes are too difficult to train pilots.
Not only are the US still making F-35s now and B-21s in the future, they are also planning to put F-15s back in to production, while Russia is producing a wide range of manned aircraft. Training pilots requires a lot of effort and money but it is money that is being spent...
Modern jet drone will be just as expensive as a Su-25 if not more because you also need a pilot, a ground station, a satelitte to controle it, a much more electronics inside for the control. But the drone will have less weapons and less survivability.
Agreed... there are no drones with the protection and fire power of a single Su-25... and there is that dichotomy... a third world enemy or terrorist enemy would generally not have the EM capacity to effect the datalinks so you could probably use drones, but their air defence is probably so weak it makes more sense to use the Su-25. Against a first world opponent a drone would be easier to neutralise than a manned aircraft and that is the problem... a drone will either be very cheap and therefore ineffective, or expensive and then not expendible... cheap drones could be eliminated as a threat even just by shooting them down as they appear, or jamming them, while expensive drones couldn't be risked... so with drones... cheap or expensive... wont be effective in the job of supporting the troops.
Su-25s would be much more useful but when the air defence is too strong you need to soften the air defences first... perhaps by using some drones and stand off SEAD platforms like the Su-34 to eliminate radar and electronics positions first with ARMs and bombs dropped from above the effective ceiling of the air defences...
It's easy to train drone pilots. Everyone can be a drone pilot. It's difficult to train jet pilots because of physical requirements. Not many people can qualify for jet pilot training. For every Su-25 you can have hundreds of jet powered drones like Cloud Shadow.
Drones are easier to take out and not as effective in the CAS role as actual manned aircraft are. Jet pilots are being trained all the time...