F-35 fighter jets grounded after United States crash

The South Carolina crash came only one day after the US military first used the F-35 in combat

The confirmation on Friday afternoon comes after the US Department of Defense announced on Thursday US time it had suspended F-35 flying to inspect fuel tubes within the aircraft's Pratt & Whitney F135 engines, following initial investigations into a US Marine Corps F-35B crash in SC, near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, in late September.

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

The accident marked the first crash of an F-35 in the 17 years since Lockheed Martin won the competition for the fighter jet in October 2001 and teamed with other contractors to begin production of the high-profile plane. "Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours".

The F-35 grounding also comes a day after a Senate Armed Services Committee subpanel hearing on Air Force readiness that included the F-35.

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

3SQN pilots and maintenance personnel are now training on the F-35 with the US Air Force's 56th Fighter Wing at Luke.

Following an incident where an F-35 type B aircraft crashed two weeks ago in the United States, a technical investigation was held and its findings were shared with the IAF by the U.S. Joint Program Office (JPO).

While its costs per aircraft are coming down there are still questions about how many planes the U.S. can afford and whether it should also buy a cheaper, less capable aircraft alongside the F-35. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.




At Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in SC, both British and American pilots are learning how to fly the F-35B.

It will equip the US Air Force and Marine Corps as well as several of Washington's allies.

"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 Marine pilot safely ejected from the plane. The more complex Navy and Marine Corps variants of the plane remained above $100 million. The US government's accountability office estimates all costs associated with the project will amount to one trillion dollars.

The crash in SC involved an F-35B, which is able to land vertically and costs around $100m (£75m).

According to the Pentagon, the decision to temporarily suspend operations for the fleet results from initial data that investigators gathered in their probe of last month's crash.

The US Air Force and European customers consider the F-35's operating costs a major problem.

The suspension by the Pentagon is to allow "a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft", the Defense Department said in a statement Thursday.

He added, however, that F-35 flight trials from the aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, are continuing and the program remains on schedule.

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