World

Stealth Fighter Jet Grounded Globally After First-Ever Crash

Stealth Fighter Jet Grounded Globally After First-Ever Crash

There are 75 F-35s in the worldwide fleet.

"We will take every measure to ensure safe operations while we deliver, sustain and modernize the F-35 for the warfighter and our defense partners", DellaVedova said.

The planes are created to be the next generation of fighter jets, capable of carrying bombs and missiles but also rigged up with cyber capabilities - seen as a critical function for 21st century battlefields.

The crash in SC involved an F-35B, which is able to land vertically and costs around $100m (£75m). If the aircraft has good fuel tubes, it will be allowed to begin flying again. The engines of the aircraft will be checked for suspected faulty tubes and replacements made where necessary. During the subsequent investigation, certain fuel tubes were identified as a potential problem, largely involving aircraft built before 2015.

"The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents", the Pentagon statement added.

On Thursday, the Israeli military also said it has grounded its fleet of F-35 warplanes.

Although the Marine Corps is the first US service to fly its joint strike fighters in combat, the aircraft has been used by the Israeli air force to strike targets.




The Marine Corps declared the F-35B operational in 2015, becoming the first service to integrate the joint strike fighter into its fleet. 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 F-35 stealth jet has been called the most expensive weapons system in history, and its development was beset by multiple delays before it was deemed combat ready.

For the U.S. Defense Department, the timing could not be worse.

It cost an estimated $400bn and had a goal to produce 2,500 aircraft in the coming years.

"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", according to a statement issued by the Department of Defense. The Marine version of the jet is capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings, and one flew its first combat mission last month in Afghanistan.

The issue as described by the JPO indicates the issue is believed to come from a subcontractor who supplied the fuel tubes for engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. John Pendleton, an official for the federal watchdog agency Government Accountability Office, said there hasn't been enough focus within the Air Force on sustaining the F-35, instead of focusing on production.


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