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US navy maintains grounding order for F-35 fighter jets

Published on Jul 12, 2014 11:14 AM
 
An F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter takes off on a training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida on March 6, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

RAF FAIRFORD, England (REUTERS) - The US Navy on Friday maintained a grounding order for F-35 B-model and C-model fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp, saying it was still not clear what caused a massive engine failure on an Air Force F-35 jet on June 23.

"At this time, I do not have sufficient information to return the F-35B and F-35C fleet to flight," Vice-Admiral David Dunaway, who heads the Navy's Air Systems Command, said in an update to a fleetwide grounding order issued by US officials on July 3. A copy of the document was obtained by Reuters.

Dunaway said in the document that he was committed to returning the F-35 fleet to flight as soon as possible, but there was "no discernible event that represents a root cause."

In the incident last month, the Pratt & Whitney engine on an Air Force F-35 A-model jet broke apart and caught fire while a pilot was preparing to take off from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida air base.

 
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