US military grounds its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets in the wake of South Carolina crash

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Russia Today: The entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets has been grounded to inspect the aircraft for suspected faulty fuel tubes, the US military said. The decision comes in the wake of a Marine Corps’ F-35B crash in South Carolina last month.

The grounding order affects all variants of the advanced fighter jets, including the Air Force’s F-35A and the Navy’s F-35C. The engines of the aircraft will be checked for suspected faulty tubes and replacements made where necessary.

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

The decision comes amid the investigation into the September 28 crash, which happened after the F-35B’s take-off from an air station in Beaufort.

“The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents,” said Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman with the Pentagon’s Joint Program Office, which oversees the F-35. “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.”

Foreign operators of the F-35, such as Britain or Israel, are also grounding their fighter jets for inspection, according to the JPO statement.

The South Carolina crash – the first ever for the 5th-generation plane – ironically happened just a day after an F-35B successfully completed a mission in Afghanistan, an event that was reported by the Pentagon as a major milestone for the program. Luckily, the pilot of the crashed aircraft ejected and landed safely.

Problems have been surrounding the expensive Lockheed Martin-produced aircraft for years. Touted as an unprecedentedly advanced fighting machine, combining stealth capabilities with vast sensor dataflow and integration with other weapon systems, it has notorious for being riddled with hundreds of “deficiencies,” even as the aircraft was drawing closer to going into full-scale production. Those include dozens of serious drawbacks that could potentially be life-threatening.

The issues partially stem from the decision to design three different variants for different branches of the armed forces. The program is estimated to have a lifetime cost of over $1.5 trillion.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. “The South Carolina crash – the first ever for the 5th-generation plane – ironically happened just a day after an F-35B successfully completed a mission in Afghanistan, . ..”

    Oh, I don’t know if “ironic” would be what I would call the “coincidence”

    Ironic defined: happening in the opposite way to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this.

    Ironic karma ?!?

  2. $2.3 Trillions missing from Pentagon budget 1999 – 2001 – 2002 – 2016 total missing from just these 2 departments DOD, and HUD, over $21 trillions. But who’s counting? Does anyone care?

  3. Grounding the entire fleet! If these were automobiles, the manufacturer would be forced to make updates and repairs through recalls, at no cost to the buyer/owner.

  4. Hey, it’s only money.
    Look at the benefits the American people get from all this.
    Making the world safer. Defending freedom and democracy for America.
    Proving what an actual bargain the F-35 really is.
    So shut up, pay your taxes and obey the government.

    • 30 years of flying sorties world wide for a greater Israel, wore out the finest fleet of Falcons, Hornets, Eagles, Blackhawks, A10s, etc. The KC10 tankers must be getting pretty tired as well. But yeah, its only money! Who’s counting? 2.3 Trillion missing from the Pentagon 11-9-2001 was taken care of when the Auditors and Accountants were incinerated.

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