The Pentagon has announced it is investigating a potential problem with the fuel tubes on aircraft across the fleet – a move sparked by the probe into the first ever crash for the advanced fighter last month.
“The US 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,” the Pentagon announced in a statement.
“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 statement added.
The F-35 fighter is the largest weapons programme of its type in the world, and was first used by Israel earlier this year to carry out a number of air strikes. The US Marine Corps’ have also used the jet to launch strikes against targets in Afghanistan.from the amphibious warship Essex,
The jet has been sold to countries around the world, including the UK and Japan.
“The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents,” the Pentagon 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.
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