Pentagon grounds global fleet of F-35s after crash

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The entire global fleet of F-35s - including Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy variants - will stay on the ground while inspectors look at the airplanes' engines. The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft.

Two U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II's assigned to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fly a combat mission over Afghanistan, Sept. 27, 2018. If the faulty part is found, it will be removed and replaced.

Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the Pentagon's F-35 office said inspections "are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours".

A Marine F-35B crashed into an uninhabited marsh island near the Grays Hill community in SC on September 28.

Britain has 16 F-35B jets and has pledged to buy 138 in total.

"We will take every measure to ensure safe operations while we deliver, sustain and modernise the F-35 for the warfighter and our defence partners".

The F-35 has attracted attention not only for its capabilities but also for its cost, after delays and overruns helped make the fighter-jet program the most expensive in the Pentagon's history. The HMS Queen Elizabeth is off the eastern US seaboard in the Atlantic Ocean conducting developmental test trials of the joint strike fighter for the United Kingdom.

On the same day of the F-35's American combat debut, two F-35s took off from and landed on a British aircraft carrier for the first time.

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"If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status", DellaVedova said.

"The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents", according to the statement. The more complex Navy and Marine Corps variants of the plane remained above $100 million.

It cost an estimated $400bn and had a goal to produce 2,500 aircraft in the coming years.

Because the problem is related to a fleetwide engine issue, rather than just in the F-35B models, it appears unlikely that the problem is unrelated to the short-takeoff and vertical-landing capabilities of the Marine's design.

The skies over the Lowcountry might be quieter for a while after officials announced Thursday that all F-35 stealth fighters have been grounded in the wake of a recent crash involving a Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort jet. The US government's accountability office estimates all costs associated with the project will amount to one trillion dollars.

Of the 280 operational F-35s purchased to date by US and worldwide partners, only 51 percent are now available for flight, Vice Adm.

Other nations that have signed contracts to join the F-35 program include the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway, according to the Pentagon.