A Montana Air National Guard commander in Great Falls said the future of his unit's mission is uncertain, pending the transfer of its F-15 jets to a the California Air National Guard and an accompanying atmosphere of austerity in Washington, D.C. that could reach into military funding.

Still, 120th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Pete Hronek remains optimistic his unit will get two replacement missions once its existing jets have flown south for good by March 2013.

Hronek says  the projected F-15 transfer still hinges on an environmental review of facilities in Fresno, Calif., where the jets are bound. Montana remains a "a preferred alternative" to receive a nonflying mission, called a "target production intelligence group," in 2013, and four small C-27J transport planes in 2014.

Story from Associated Press