The Pentagon Has Grounded Its New Stealth Fighters—Again

Military bars F-35s from flying following mysterious fire

The Pentagon Has Grounded Its New Stealth Fighters—Again The Pentagon Has Grounded Its New Stealth Fighters—Again
The U.S. military has grounded its brand-new F-35 stealth fighter fleet after one of the jets lit on fire on a runway. The June... The Pentagon Has Grounded Its New Stealth Fighters—Again

The U.S. military has grounded its brand-new F-35 stealth fighter fleet after one of the jets lit on fire on a runway.

The June 23 blaze at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida involved an F-35A, the land-based model of the new radar-evading jet.

The news came just ahead of the long July 4 weekend—and right before F-35s were scheduled to cross the Atlantic to take part in the U.K.’s Farnborough International Air Show and Royal International Air Tattoo.

The Pentagon hasn’t cancelled the stealth plane’s air show appearances—yet. But the grounding puts the aircraft’s international debut at risk.

“The root cause of the incident remains under investigation,” Rear Adm. John Kirby stated. “Additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered, and return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data.”

“Defense Department leadership supports this prudent approach,” Kirby added. “Preparations continue for F-35 participation in international air shows in the United Kingdom, however a final decision will come early next week.”

This is not the first time the entire F-35 fleet has had to stop flying.

On Feb. 22, 2013 the Pentagon suspended flights after technicians found a crack on a turbine blade in a test aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

That no-fly decision came only nine days after the Defense Department had cleared the F-35B to resume operations after a month-long grounding due to an engine problem.