Entire F-35 Fleet Is Grounded Because Of Widespread Problem With Jet’s Fuel Tubes

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Entire F-35 Fleet Is Grounded Because Of Widespread Problem With Jet's Fuel Tubes

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On October 11th, the Pentagon ordered the grounding of the entire F-35 fleet worldwide. The reason for the decision is the crash of an F-35B fighter jet in South Carolina on September 28th. Investigators came to the conclusion that there is a widespread problem with the aircraft’s fuel tubes.

“The U.S. Services and international partners have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations while the enterprise conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft,” the F-35 Joint Program Office announced in a statement on the morning of October 11th.

“If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status. Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The office said the grounding “is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina on 28 September. The aircraft mishap board is continuing its work and the U.S. Marine Corps will provide additional information when it becomes available.”

In the September 28th crash the pilot ejected safely from the aircraft, but the jet was totaled.

Despite the Pentagon’s claim that the F-35 is grounded worldwide, the UK Ministry of Defense, on its Twitter, said that all of the F-35 jets have not been grounded. Some were paused from flying in relation to the investigation.

Lockheed Martin is also apparently hard at work to solve the issue.

“We are actively partnering with the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office, our global customers and Pratt & Whitney to support the resolution of this issue and limit disruption to the fleet,” said Michael Friedman, the spokesman for Lockheed.

The Israeli Air Forces also said that it is testing its fighter jets.

“The Commander of the IAF, Maj Gen Amikam Norkin, decided to take additional precautions and conduct tests on all F-35I aircraft, despite the accident having occurred in a model not used by the IAF and although no malfunctions have been found in IAF aircraft. The testing will take several days and once completed the planes will return to full operations. In the meanwhile, if the F-35I are required for operational action, the F-35I aircraft are ready and prepared.”

The Royal Australian Airforce has taken the delivery of 9 F-35s from Lockheed Martin, all of them are currently grounded in the American training base in Arizona.

The Australian Defense Force released a statement saying that “the F-35 fleet has been instructed to conduct safety inspections across all delivered engines. Australian F-35 aircraft currently based in the US will return to flying operations once safety inspections are complete. Some international partners within the F-35 Program are already commencing flying following conclusion of their inspections.”

The Drive reported that the F-35 program has hit a significant milestone when the US Marine Corps flew its first ever combat mission above Afghanistan in September 2018.

On September 28th, two F-35Bs landed on the Royal Navy’s new and only aircraft carrier for the first time.

The grounding of the F-35 fighter jets is an embarrassment for this extremely expensive and much troubled program.

There have been numerous issues with the F-35’s development so far. As of January 2018, the jet had cumbersome software tools and outdated or incomplete hardware, according to Michael Gilmore, the former Director of the Operational Test and Evaluation.

On August 29th, the Project on Government Oversight reported that the F-35 had numerous life-threatening issues remaining. Instead of fixing these issues, F-35 officials were recategorizing them as issues of lower significance. These problems were downgraded without a fix in sight.

In total, the F-35 had 111 Category I (life-threatening issues) deficiencies, out of which 19 were downgraded to Category II (less serious issues), with 10 of them having no plan in place to correct them.

The F-35, according to POGO has been declared combat ready simply so it can move past the development phase. However, to make it truly capable and not simply “officially” it would take years and much more investments. The program  already costs more than $12.2 billion annually to keep the aircraft flying, according to POGO’s investigation into official documents.

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  • HardHawk

    personally I think all the problems because they failed to put a space age toilet in the plane and the pilots shitting themselves create an explosive reaction within the air frame that causes all the problems.

  • MADE MAKER

    F-35 Cost $94.6 million Each …A Lot of Money for 1 Plane

    • Now they will be forced to scrap them because of problem with tubes worth $10 per ft.

      • John Whitehot

        keep it up measuring the world in dollars.

        it’s done you a lot of good in these years.

    • Hisham Saber

      Try 130 million.

  • It is quite embarrassing that US engineers are not able to design simple fuel tubes for $130.000.000 jet properly .
    Let me guess. They are from cheap flammable material, with smaller diameter then necessary, holders are cracking, tubes are not resistant against vibrations and are placed just next to hot engine parts.

    Because somebody in USA:
    -is a moron (probably with university degree in gender studies)
    -cut costs on $10 parts
    -let $130.000.000 plane to be assembled by uneducated monkeys
    -everything on F35 is so “high tech” that hey couldn’t simple copy fuel tubes design from older jets (which never suffered similar problems)

    In other words – US designers are bigger idiots then expected.

    • Sinbad2

      Many years ago a batch of US Navy planes were wired with the wrong type of wire. Because the cost of rewiring was so high, they just wrote the planes off, and bought new ones. I forget the exact number, but about 200 planes.
      A fool and his money.

      • Tommy Jensen

        Actually its our money they use. The dollar cirkus you know.

  • Jesus

    To ground the F35 fleet because of fuel tube problems …..or any other future problems DURING WAR = utter defeat.

  • We tried.

    But for a nail, the horse was lost.

  • Hisham Saber

    Reason they are doing this is so Israel wont do the stupid move of using the F-35’s against Russia/Syria and get some knocked out of the sky.

  • Steve Baker

    Ponder this. The F35-c weighs 60 tons. It replaces the F18 carrier version that weighs 40 tons. Thats taking off heavy.

  • Brad Isherwood

    This aircraft and the F 22 could not maintain ready status on Military cycle operations.
    Both would fall out on maintenence with that problems greater than Military service could man hour
    To return them to Military duty cycle.

    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24177/f-22-raptor-came-to-a-rest-on-its-side-after-making-emergency-landing-in-alaska

    Excerpt:
    Bewildering facts about Raptor 4006, the resurrected test F-22 that was in storage for 6 years:
    -25,000 labor man-hours to get it back in the air
    -11,000 fixes
    -Service life extension from 2k to 4k hours
    -This equates to 12.5 labor hours per flight hour
    -27 months to complete

    4:40 PM – Sep 1, 2018

  • Sinbad2

    Blocked tubes, too much fat in the diet, the obese plane, sort of fitting for America.

  • Barba_Papa

    I’m willing to accept that I have a bias against this plane, the flying lemon. But then again Lockheed-Martin makes it so goddamn easy to find confirmation for that bias. :D

  • Tommy Jensen

    The pilot ejected safely. Americans never die………………………………………………………LOL.