Pentagon grounds entire fleet of F-35s following crash

U.S. military suspends operations for F-35 fighter jets, citing safety concerns

The Pentagon said in a statement Thursday that the US military and its global partners, which have also purchased F-35 fighter jets from contractor Lockheed Martin, would be suspending flight operations to inspect the fuel tubes out of caution.

The F-35 program office said the inspections should be completed in one or two days. Luckily, the pilot of the crashed aircraft ejected and landed safely. "The aircraft mishap board is continuing its work and the U.S. Marine Corps will provide additional information when it becomes available".

A US official says only half the current fleet of aircraft have the fuel tube, but inspections will be carried out on the entire USA fleet.

More than 250 F-35s will be affected in the United States, as well as almost 100 in other nations, according to AP reports.

The U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy have hundreds of F-35s, both flying in the continental United States and deployed overseas, while the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Norway, Israel, Japan, and South Korea have smaller fleets. If the faulty part is found, it will be removed and replaced. Planes known to have working fuel tubes installed will return to the skies.

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

F-35 combat jets was grounded to investigate engine problems that may have caused a Marine Corps plane crash last month.

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".

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The F-35 programme has been hit by numerous delays, cost overruns and setbacks, including a mysterious engine fire in 2014 that also led to commanders temporarily grounding the aircraft.

Britain has 16 F-35B jets and has pledged to buy 138 in total.

The full investigation into the crash is ongoing.

During Wednesday's hearing, Sen.

The plant employs about 14,500 people, including 8,800 on the F-35 program.

"I know it's a complex aircraft, only took nearly two decades to procure and develop which, that's a whole other topic for a whole other hearing", said Sullivan, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee subpanel on readiness and management support. "So why is there such a disparity between military aircraft, that are brand new, and commercial aircraft?"

An official report questioned earlier this year whether the F-35 was ready for combat after dozens of faults were found. "And it's going to be hard to achieve those kinds of mission capability rates".

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