Entire F-35 fleet grounded and checked for fault after crash
Entire F-35 fleet grounded and checked for fault after crash
All US F-35s grounded worldwide
13 October, 2018, 10:10
The Pentagon announced Thursday it is grounding its entire fleet of F-35s, just days after the first crash of an F-35B led investigators to suspect there is a widespread problem with the advanced fighter's fuel tubes.
A fleet of F-35 fighter jets have been temporarily grounded in order to inspect the aircraft after a crash in SC last month.
Certain fuel tubes were identified as a potential problem. If known properly functioning fuel tubes are already installed, those aircraft would be returned to flight status.
The wide-ranging grounding of the entire fleet comes after a Marine F-35B joint strike fighter went down in Beaufort, South Carolina, on September 28.
"We will continue to review the situation as further information becomes available". The Marine pilot safely ejected before the crash.
The US Marine Corp led the way with a flight ban on all of its F-35s after one suffered a catastrophic engine failure and crashed in SC in September 28 - the pilot ejected safely, but the remains of the broken fuselage had to be picked out of boggy marshlands near Beaufort.
Israel has also chose to follow in the US' footsteps and announced that it had grounded all of its F-35 stealth fighter jets.
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"The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents".
Of the 280 operational F-35s purchased to date by USA and worldwide partners, only 51 percent are now available for flight, Vice Adm.
In a statement, the Australian Defence Force confirmed that "the F-35 fleet has been instructed to conduct safety inspections across all delivered engines". The Air Force followed by declaring initial operational capability for the F-35A conventional variant in 2016, while the Navy plans to declare Initial Operational Capability for the F-35C carrier variant in February 2019.
The fault with the planes is believed to be with the fuel tube, and affects more than 250 US-owned jets, as well as almost 100 that belong to other nations including Britain. The more complex Navy and Marine Corps variants of the plane remained above $100 million.
But less than 24 hours later a different Marine F-35B out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in SC crashed just five miles away from the base - the first crash in the aircraft's 17-year history. 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.
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