Stealth Fighter Jet Grounded Globally After First-Ever Crash

Pentagon Grounds Entire Fleet of U.S.’s F-35 Fighter Jets After Crash

The more complex Navy and Marine Corps variants of the plane remained above $100 million.

All variants of the jet, including the Air Force "A" version and Navy "C" version, are included, according to Lee Hudson of Aviation Week. If good tubes are already installed, then those planes would be returned to operational status.

To date, the US military has purchased 245 F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin.

The U.S. military has grounded its fleet of F-35s following a recent crash in SC to inspect the fighter jets' engine fuel tubes, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

The military say that the inspection process is expected to take up to 48 hours.

"If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced", Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman with the Pentagon's Joint Program Office, which oversees the F-35, said in a statement.

The jet was based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and on a routine training missing at the time.

A day before the crash in SC, another Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II was used in its first USA combat mission to strike a Taliban target in Afghanistan.




A Marine Corps F-35B was completely destroyed in a crash during training in SC on September 28.

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

But if the planes are "required for operational action, the F-35I aircraft are ready and prepared", a statement read.

The grounding news also comes two days after Defense News reported that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has ordered the military services to get readiness rates on four planes, including the F-35, up above 80 percent by next September.

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

So far, the United States military has taken delivery of 245 F-35s, majority to the Air Force.

On the same day of the F-35's American combat debut, two F-35s took off from and landed on a British aircraft carrier for the first time. The Israeli warplanes, purchased from the US, are a different model than the American one that crashed. 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.

"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. Gen. Amikam Norkin, wants to conduct additional tests on Israel's F-35s.

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