Entire fleet of F-35 stealth fighters grounded by new engine problem

On Feb. 22, the Pentagon decided to suspend the flights of all Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter planes after a crack was found on a turbine blade of a test aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The decision comes only nine days after the DoD had cleared the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the 5th generation combat plane, designed the F-35B, to resume flying activity after a month long grounding due to a fueldraulic engine problem.

Even though both groundings were caused by engine problems, the extent of the last suspension is wider as it affects all the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) types: the F-35A conventional takeoff version, the F-35B jump jet variant (destined to replace the AV-8B Harrier) and the F-35C Carrier Variant.

The crack on the low pressure turbine of the F135 engine problem will roughly require a week-long investigation according to a P&W spokesman quoted by DefenseNews.

According to the official statements, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, which builds the engine for the fighter, are working closely to “ensure the integrity of the engine and return the F-35 fleet to flight as soon as possible.”

Maybe there’s someone in Washington DC who repent for killing the F-35’s second engine program….

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About David Cenciotti 4419 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

2 Comments

  1. Low pressure blade problem . . . No need to panic my good friend. The Fleet stand down is simply a precaution.

    Likely a manufacturing issue . . . Nobody with more than three brain cell is worrying over the redundant engine cancellation.

  2. Agree with GlowballWarming, no need to panic. Lots of successful have the occasional turbine blade crack every now and then (better to find the problem on the ground than in the air)!

    I’ll admit I’ll be much happier when the F-35 finally makes it through testing into production already. How far behind is it compared to the original schedule? Concurrent development was really a bad idea, and gotta disagree with GlowballWarming on one point. That secondary engine doesn’t look so expensive to me right now.

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