United States military grounds entire fleet of F-35s in wake of crash

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

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

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

Less than two weeks ago, two U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs flew the first American combat missions for the new joint strike fighter. The Navy plans to have their own version of the F-35 flying from aircraft carriers by February 2019.

During the crash investigation, certain fuel tubes were identified as a potential problem, largely involving aircraft built before 2015.

Flight operations for the strike fighter have been temporarily suspended as the military conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engines of all F-35 aircraft, a Pentagon spokesman told Task & Purpose.

The F-35B crash in SC was the first ever such accident involving an F-35 variant.

The inspection is "is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina" on September 28, according to the statement.

The F-35 is the costliest USA weapons system. The HMS Queen Elizabeth is off the eastern USA seaboard in the Atlantic Ocean conducting developmental test trials of the joint strike fighter for the United Kingdom.

"The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents", DellaVedova said.

The DOD said in the statement that if "good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status".

It will equip the US Air Force and Marine Corps as well as several of Washington's allies. There are more than 340 F-35s being used now by the United States and other countries. This allows the plane to hover and land vertically like a helicopter and is a critical requirement for the Marine Corps, which often operates from amphibious ships with smaller decks than the Navy's aircraft carriers.

Problems have been surrounding the expensive Lockheed Martin-produced aircraft for years.

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.

The temporary suspension of all F-35 flights is an embarrassment given the extraordinary cost of this frequently troubled programme.

The Pentagon grounded the global fleet of F-35 stealth fighters Thursday so that engineers could conduct urgent inspections following the first ever crash of the costliest plane in history. The US government's accountability office estimates all costs associated with the project will amount to one trillion dollars.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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