The future for a USAF that has trouble paying the bills is here. Kinda. For short range Air Sovereignty Alert (ASA) missions against slow movers, the Air Guard has been trying out the AT-6 II turbo-prop. Lots of gas and on-station time. Low payments.
“We successfully completed all four of the intercepts, we had been on station for a little more than two hours, the F-16s had departed, the didn’t have a tanker so they had gone back to land and they asked ups, ‘Ok, are you guys ready to land?’ We said, ‘well, we still have an hour and a half of fuel left… We were able to text both ground controllers as well as the F-16. We traded tracks with the F-16s that showed where we were locked to, we could see their radar information piped into the aircraft as well.”