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Pentagon grounds entire F-35 fighter jet fleet

The Pentagon has grounded its entire fleet of 51 F-35 fighter jets after the discovery of a cracked engine blade.

The fault was detected during a routine inspection of an air force version of the jet (F-35A) at Edwards Air Force Base in California, said the Pentagon.

Different versions are flown by the navy and the marine corps. All have been grounded.

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons programme. with a cost of nearly $400 billion.

The Pentagon said flight operations would remain suspended until the root cause is established.

The Pentagon has grounded its entire fleet of 51 F-35 fighter jets after the discovery of a cracked engine blade

The Pentagon has grounded its entire fleet of 51 F-35 fighter jets after the discovery of a cracked engine blade

Friday’s order was the second time in two months planes from the F-35 range have been grounded.

The marine corps variant (F-35B), a short take-off and vertical landing variant (STOVL), was grounded for nearly a month after a manufacturing defect caused a fuel line to detach just before a training flight in January.

The air force version takes off from, and lands on, conventional runways while the STOVL version takes off from shorter runways and lands like a helicopter.

With a top speed of 1,200 mph (1,930 km/h), the F-35 can fly almost twice as fast as the Harrier, while it also has radar transparency and stealth capabilities – the Harrier had neither.

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