1.5cm crack blamed for US F-35 fighter jet grounding: sources
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The engine blade crack that prompted the US military to ground all 51 F-35 fighter jets was 1.5 cm long, according to three sources familiar with the matter, but it remained unclear if the crack was caused by a manufacturing anomaly or some larger design issue.
Engineers at Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, will conduct a detailed examination of the turbine blade as soon as it arrives at the company's Middletown, Connecticut, site, said spokesman Matthew Bates.
"Pilot safety is our absolute top priority," he said, noting that the F135 engine that powers the new radar-evading fighter jet had a readiness rate of over 98 per cent.
"We are in a testing phase of the programme and discoveries such as this are part of the process," he added.