The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a
family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth
generation multirole fighters under development
to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and
air defense missions with stealth capability.
The F-35 has three main models; the F-35A (Air
Force) is a conventional takeoff and landing
variant, the F-35B (Navy) is a short take off
and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the
F-35C (Navy) which is a carrier-based variant.
The Pentagon said the grounding only affected
the F-35B model fighter jets.
The F-35B is powered by a Pratt & Whitney
single-engine F135 jet engine. Pratt & Whitney’s
spokesman Matthew Bates said that initial
inspection discovered a detached propulsion line
in the rear part of the engine compartment.
said "A team of Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce
engineers is investigating the cause of the
incident and working closely with Lockheed
Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office to
resolve the matter".
Last week the Pentagon sent an
18 page report on
its F-35 program to Congress. The reported
indicated that the F-35 flight tests were ahead
of schedule however, lagged in some areas due to
unresolved problems and newly discovered issues.
The Pentagon’s report details an array of
problems which underscored the “lack of
maturity” of the $396 billion fighter program.
The report indicated that about 34 percent of
the test program has been completed.