Originally Posted by horatio
Thanks, Akula, I did not know that unarmed fighters were sent in the air at 9/11.
Sh*t happens but I hope that after 9/11, these procedures were improved.
I can't remember for certain (which is surprising since I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news of the first planes), but I think it was after or around the time the first plane struck the WTC that the fighters were scrambled. I believe their target was United Flight 93. As you can imagine those fighter pilots had a rather terrible dilemma to deal with while in flight. Had they been armed they would have been faced with making that decision on whether or not to shoot the plane down. Since they were not arm, they were faced with different decision. Should they decide that they had to take the plane down, would they go so far as to crash their own fighters into the hijacked plane. So yeah, talk about your lose lose situations.
Another thing I forgot to mention is that normally military fighters are also restricted on how fast they can go, because of the sonic booms from going full throttle. However, during emergencies like 9/11 those restrictions can and were lifted. Even with the restriction lifted, those fighters still didn't make it in time to intercept.