Jul 5, 2014
Pentagon Grounds F-35 Fighter Jets as Fire Is Investigated
Additional inspections of the jets, which aren't yet in service, have been ordered following initial findings of the accident probe. Return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data.
The F-35, the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program at $399 billion, has been beset by problems that have included failing tires, engine oil leaks and issues with pilot helmets. Development costs have risen and the military services due to operate the jet have had to delay plans to operate the plane. The U.S. Marine Corps, the first user, wants the jets to be ready by next summer.
The exact cause of the engine fire on an F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida is still not known.
The inspections have put in jeopardy a plan by the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin to have the F-35 make its overseas airshow debut this month in Britain.