Pentagon grounds entire $400B fleet of F-35 fighter jets after finding crack in engine blade
- Flight operations of F-35 were similarly suspended in January after an engine failure during test flight
- The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the Pentagon’s biggest and most expensive weapons program
- Pentagon envisions purchasing more than 2,400 F-35s
- The U.K., Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Denmark and Norway are scheduled to buy versions of the F-35
The Pentagon has suspended the flights of all 51 F-35 fighter planes after a routine inspection revealed a crack on a turbine blade in the jet engine of an F-35A, the Air Force’s version of the jet, in California.
Friday’s decision marked the second grounding of the warplane in two months and marked another setback for the $396 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon’s biggest and most expensive weapons program.
The program has already been restructured three times in recent years and may face further cutbacks if Congress does not avert major budget reductions due to take effect on March 1.