Pentagon Orders Entire F-35 Fleet Grounded

F-35 fighter jet. Pic MoD

F-35 fighter jet. Pic MoD

The U.S. military has grounded its fleet of F-35s following a recent crash in SC to inspect the fighter jets' engine fuel tubes, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

"F-35 flight trials from the aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, are continuing and the programme remains on schedule to provide our armed forces with a game-changing capability".

Lockheed is slated to deliver 91 jets this year.

According to a source at Lockheed Martin, the inspections are not expected to significantly impact delivery or production of the jets.

The DOD said in the statement that if "good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status". During the subsequent investigation, certain fuel tubes were identified as a potential problem, largely involving aircraft built before 2015.

The decision comes amid the investigation into the September 28 crash, which happened after the F-35B's take-off from an air station in Beaufort.

"At this time, the cause of the mishap has not yet been determined", said Capt. Christopher Harrison, a U.S. Marine Corps spokesman.

The temporary suspension of flight operations will also impact worldwide partners, such as Israel, that have the F-35.

The Joint Program Office statement included "international partners" in the flight operation grounding, though the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence tweeted they have only "paused some F-35 flying as a precautionary measure while we consider the findings of an ongoing enquiry".

Even before the F-35 grounding, experts speculated that Mattis's goal of reaching 80 percent readiness for these aircraft-the F-35, F-22, F-16, and F/A-18-was a pipe dream.

According to data for fiscal year 2017, the most recent available, the Air Force's F-35A models had around a 55 percent readiness rate, well below that target. In May, Israel Defense Forces officials confirmed that the country's F-35 "Adir" fighters had seen combat in two airstrikes somewhere in the Middle East.

The F-35 program, the most expensive weapon in US military history, has been marred by delays and cost overruns and other mechanical issues. The Israeli warplanes, purchased from the USA, are a different model than the American one that crashed.

The F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the aircraft.

The suspension by the Pentagon is to allow "a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft", the Defense Department said in a statement Thursday.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has projected a total lifetime cost of $1 trillion for the program.

This story is developing and will be updated.

Recommended News

  • Kanye West loves - and hugs

    Kanye West loves - and hugs

    It's attractive though! But there's times where, you know, it's something about - I love Hillary . "That won't stop me". West said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but then that he was misdiagnosed, and was simply sleep-deprived.

    Samsung launches the Galaxy A9

    Samsung has included Intelligent Scene Optimizer feature that relies on AI for enhancing shots in different scenes. The primary camera is a 24-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 aperture that handles most of point-and-shoot needs.
    Classic Zelda on Nintendo Switch Online gets easier with special save data

    Classic Zelda on Nintendo Switch Online gets easier with special save data

    Specifically, you'll have immediate access to the White Sword, the Magical Shield, the Blue Ring, and the Power Bracelet. Even if you lose the first time, you'll be able to use your fortune to get more items and try again easily.
  • Manhattan district attorney drops one of the charges against Harvey Weinstein

    Manhattan district attorney drops one of the charges against Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein had previously pleaded not guilty to the six sex crimes he's been charged with in NY , including two counts of rape. The letter also said prosecutors had recently obtained an email that Evans wrote in 2015 to the man she later married.
    Pacific Northwest gas prices could spike after pipeline explosion

    Pacific Northwest gas prices could spike after pipeline explosion

    Of that million they estimate that approximately 700,000, or 70%, of those customers, could lose their gas supply. About 100 people have been evacuated from the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation as a precaution.
    Donald Trump says United States  'demanding' answers over disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

    Donald Trump says United States 'demanding' answers over disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

    It said they checked into two hotels in Istanbul on 2 Oct, the day Khashoggi went missing, and left later that day. Khashoggi, 59, was reportedly killed within two hours of arriving at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.
  • Google brings camera twists to new Pixel smartphones

    Google brings camera twists to new Pixel smartphones

    The Walmart-backed ecommerce portal is also asking consumers for their email to get notified when the product becomes available. The Note 9 has 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 512GB internal storage with microSD card support for almost unlimited storage.
    Senators demand Magnitsky Act probe, sanctions on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi disappearance

    Senators demand Magnitsky Act probe, sanctions on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi disappearance

    White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders added that the U.S. would continue to inquire about the fate of the journalist. Turkish sources have said they believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies, was killed inside the mission.

    United States stock indexes keep falling as rates resume their climb

    But eventually the high rates worry stock investors, as higher rates tend to increase borrowing costs and cut into profit margins. Bond yields and therefore interest rates have been rising for more than two years as the USA economy grew strong.
  • Donald Trump: US 'very tough' in bid to find missing Jamal Khashoggi

    Donald Trump: US 'very tough' in bid to find missing Jamal Khashoggi

    On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said the United States "had no advance knowledge" of such a plan. Miss Cengiz said Mr Khashoggi had visited the consulate on September 28 despite some concern that he could be in danger.
    Trump raises economic concerns over halting Saudi arms sales

    Trump raises economic concerns over halting Saudi arms sales

    The consulate insists Khashoggi left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. "Right now nobody knows anything about it". It has allowed journalists into the consulate to show Mr Khashoggi is not there, reportedly even opening cupboards.
    The Dow tumbles more than 400 points

    The Dow tumbles more than 400 points

    Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent, South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.1 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.1 percent. The CAC 40 in France dropped 2.1 per cent, Germany's DAX lost 2.2 per cent and the FTSE 100 in London fell 1.3 per cent.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.