Military officials from both the US and UK have been forced to ground each and every F-35 in their fleets so that their engines can be inspected—following another fire last week.
By our count, this will be the eighth time the entire fleet has had to be been grounded—though it's hard to keep accurate tallies given it happens practically all the time. Last time, it was the result of a F-35B Joint Strike Fighter catching fire. This time, reports Reuters, an Air Force F-35A caught fire at a Florida air base. "The engine ripped through the top of the plane," one source told the news agency leaving behind "about six feet of debris."
It's somewhat of political humiliation, given that the $398.6 billion F-35B Joint Strike Fighter is about to make its international debut at two air shows in Britain in the coming weeks. The grounding will stymie a July 4th naming ceremony of Britain's newest aircraft carrier, but it's hoped that jets will be checked and ready for their debut appearances at shows on July 11th and 14th. The inspections should take about 90 minutes apiece, according to the Reuters sources, and US and UK military officials are working together to get the checks performed as quickly as possible. [Reuters]
Image by US Air Force