F-35s grounded again

f35 grounded again nwfdn
FILE PHOTO / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM.

For the second time in five weeks, the most advanced fighter jet in history has been grounded with mechanical problems.

The Department of Defense on Friday announced that the Air Force, Marine and Navy variants of the F-35 were grounded after a crack was discovered on the engine blade of an Air Force F-35A at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Unlike the most recent nearly one-month flight suspension that affected just the F-35B Marine variant, all three variants were grounded Thursday.

“In this situation, the F135 engine, the core of the engine, is the same for all variants of the F-35,” said Col. Andrew Toth, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, where pilots and maintainers train.

Toth said it was hard to speculate how long the F-35s would stay on the ground. A full analysis of the engine and the cracked blade is needed to determine the cause of the problem. The evaluation will be conducted at Pratt & Whitney’s Engine Facility in Middletown, Conn.

The crack was discovered during a routine inspection Tuesday, according a news release from the F-35 Joint Program Office.

Toth said maintainers conduct thorough borescope inspections of the engine and all of its blades before every 25 hours of engine time.



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