US grounds entire F-35 fleet pending engine inspections

The fourth US Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrives at the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada on April 24, 2013. The US military said it had grounded the entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets until completion of a
The fourth US Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrives at the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada on April 24, 2013. The US military said it had grounded the entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets until completion of additional inspections of the warplane's single engine built by Pratt & Whitney. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US military on Thursday said it had grounded the entire fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets until completion of additional inspections of the warplane's single engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

The Pentagon's F-35 program office, Air Force and Navy issued directives on Thursday ordering the suspension of all F-35 flights after a June 23 fire on an Air Force F-35A jet at a Florida air base, according to statements by the Pentagon and the F-35 program office.

The Pentagon said US and industry officials had not been able to pinpoint the cause of the fire, which occurred as a pilot was preparing for takeoff. The pilot was not injured.

The Pentagon said preparations were continuing for F-35 jets to participate in two UK air shows later this month, but a final decision would be made early next week.