Pentagon Orders Entire F-35 Fleet Grounded

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The Pentagon has ordered its entire fleet of F-35 fighters to be grounded in the wake of a Marine F-35B crash in South Carolina last month.


All variants of the jet, including the Air Force ‘A’ version and Navy ‘C’ version, are included, according to Lee Hudson of Aviation Week.

Flight operations for the strike fighter have been temporarily suspended as the military conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engines of all F-35 aircraft, a Pentagon spokesman told Task & Purpose.

“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.

Related: The F-35 Ended A Banner Week With Its First Crash In Its 17-Year History »

“If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status," DellaVedova said.  "Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours."

The decision to inspect the aircraft fuel tubes stemmed from an ongoing investigation into the F-35B crash that occurred shortly after a takeoff from the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina on Sept. 28.

Related: The Marine Corps’ F-35 Combat Debut Was Flown In Honor Of A Fallen Hero »

“The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents,” DellaVedova said. “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.”

Here's the full statement from JPO:

The U.S. Services and international 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. If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status. Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.

The action to perform the inspection is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina on 28 September. The aircraft mishap board is continuing its work and the U.S. Marine Corps will provide additional information when it becomes available.

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

NOW: From 1st Combat Strike To 1st Crash: It's Been A Chaotic Month For The F-35 >

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