The Department of Defense said today that the military has grounded all fifty-one of its F-35 stealth fighter jets due to a crack in one of the Pratt & Whitney engines. The crack was discovered in the engine blade of an Air Force F-35A at Edwards AFB, Calif.
The newest “darling” of the air, the F-35 has been fraught with delays and cost overruns since its inception; in fact, this grounding comes hot on the heels of a recent grounding by the Marine’s version of the aircraft.
The F-35 was developed to replace the enduring, but aging, F-16s and F-18s. Some say the F-35 was forced into production before it was fully vetted and ready.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which has a baseline price tag of over a third of $1 trillion as of last March, represents America’s costly foray into fifth-generation stealth fighters along with the troubled $79 billion F-22 Raptor.
The plane comes in three variants: an Air Force version with standard takeoff and landing capabilities, a Navy version designed to take off and land from aircraft carriers and the Marine version, which is designed to land vertically like Britain’s famous Harrier jet
A spokesman for the engine maker, Pratt & Whitney, told The Army Times that the engine analysis should be complete in approximately a week.
The primary manufacturer of the F-35 is Lockheed Martin.
The Pentagon is expected to lift the flying ban after the Pratt & Whitney report and after thorough inspections of all the F-35s across the branches.
Examiner's Note: No reported combat losses of U.S. troops since Jan. 16, 2013!
The National Military Examiner publishes military and military-related content from around the world that often misses mainstream media, including all troop losses.
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