Pentagon Grounds a Certain Type of Plane Amid Concerns

Pentagon Grounds a Certain Type of Plane Amid Concerns

( – The US military continually upgrades its capabilities to maintain air superiority over its adversaries. One of the newest state-of-the-art fifth-generation fighters is the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II. Its design and technology allow it to conduct missions other fighter jets actively in service couldn’t previously fulfill. The F-35 offers variants for differing capabilities to meet the individual needs of the Air Force (F-35A), Navy (F-35C), and Marine Corps (F-35B). On December 15, an F-35B crashed during hovering maneuvers at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. That caused the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) to issue guidance and ground some of the fighter jets.

Defense News reported it’s unknown how many of the high-tech planes the Pentagon grounded but noted the involvement of all three variants. It said the Pentagon issued restrictions on some aircraft to evaluate the mishap and will return the assets to service once flight engineers develop procedures to resolve the issue. The JPO refused to say why they grounded the planes, only that they determined the aircraft they selected were “deemed at a higher risk.”

An anonymous source said investigators found a propulsion system problem that contributed to the crash of the F-35B as it hovered over the runway. The person said a tube that transfers high-pressure fuel to the engine failed. Restrictions only affected planes with less than 40 flight hours.

Lockheed Martin said it was working with the Navy to resolve the problem but wouldn’t say anything else. The defense contractor said it has delivered over 875 F-35s to the armed forces and other countries participating in the program.

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