WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday briefly halted all flight operations of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets pending a fleet-wide inspection of doubtless defective engine tubes.
“If suspect gas tubes are put in, the half will probably be eliminated and changed. If recognized good gas tubes are already put in, then these plane will probably be returned to flight standing,” Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Pentagon’s F-35 workplace mentioned including that the inspections “are anticipated to be accomplished throughout the subsequent 24 to 48 hours.”
A supply near this system confirmed that roughly 10 jets at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Value, Texas, have already accomplished inspection and are planning to organize for flight operations later right this moment.
Whereas Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the F-35, the plane engine is manufactured by Pratt & Whitney and put in at Lockheed’s mile-long facility in Fort Value.
“We’re actively partnering with the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Workplace, our world clients and Pratt & Whitney to help the decision of this situation and restrict disruption to the fleet,” Lockheed Martin mentioned in an announcement following the announcement.
The suspension was spurred by a crash final month in Beaufort, South Carolina, wherein a then-unknown fault in considered one of Lockheed Martin’s F-35B jets pressured its pilot to eject from the cockpit.
The incident, which marked the primary crash of an F-35 for the reason that fifth-generation plane turned operational in 2006, provides to the laundry checklist of challenges going through the U.S. army’s most costly weapons system.
The “jack of all trades” fifth-generation fighter, valued at an acquisition value of $406.5 billion, has been plagued with setbacks together with defective ejection seats, software program delays and important helmet-display points.
There are presently greater than 320 F-35 plane working out of 15 bases worldwide.