Pentagon grounds F-35 fighter jet flights in wake of crash

13 October, 2018, 10:10 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • All US F-35s grounded worldwide

The US military has temporarily grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets in the wake of a crash in SC last month.

In May, Israel announced it had conducted the first combat missions ever using the F-35 but offered few details.

The inspection of the fuel tubes is already underway, and expected to be completed within 24 to 48 hours, Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman with the Pentagon's Joint Program Office, told Task & Purpose.

Israel has also chose to follow in the US' footsteps and announced that it had grounded all of its F-35 stealth fighter jets.

A Marine Corps-operated F-35B, a short take-off/vertical landing model, crashed on Little Barnwell Island, about 5 miles from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, in Beaufort, South Carolina at around 11:45 a.m. on September 28, Military.com reported. 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.

The ADF said the groundings triggered by the USA crash "will not affect the delivery of aircraft to Australia".

"If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status. Some worldwide partners within the F-35 program are already commencing flying following conclusion of their inspections".

But if the planes are "required for operational action, the F-35I aircraft are ready and prepared", a statement read.

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RAAF F-35 A35-009 parked on the "Australian flight line" at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The more complex Navy and Marine Corps variants of the plane remained above $100 million. In total, the aircraft program is projected to cost about $1 trillion to develop, produce, field and sustain over its lifetime, according to the Government Accountability Office.

According to the Pentagon, the decision to temporarily suspend operations for the fleet results from initial data that investigators gathered in their probe of last month's crash.

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

Because of the ongoing investigation, he said he had no comment on the specifics of the flight disruption.

The US Air Force and European customers consider the F-35's operating costs a major problem.

The Israeli warplanes, purchased from the USA, are a different model than the American one that crashed.

"The US services and global partners have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations while the enterprise conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft", said Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the F-35 program.

The plane, manufactured by Lockheed Martin but including parts made in several other countries, has been sold to a number of nations, including the UK, Japan, Italy, Turkey and South Korea.

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