Earlier this week, the U.S. military grounded its entire fleet of F-35 stealth fighters after one of the jets crashed during a training mission outside of Beaufort, South Carolina, on September 28th last month with other countries including the UK and Australia following suit.
The stand down affects more than 200 jets while an “inspection of a fuel tube” in F-35 engines takes place, according to a Pentagon spokesman, further adding that “If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status. Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours”
The Australian Defence Force (ADF), who currently operate 9 examples with a further 72 due to be delivered said in a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC): the F-35 fleet has been instructed to conduct safety inspections across all delivered engines. Australian F-35 aircraft currently based in the US will return to flying operations once safety inspections are complete. Some international partners within the F-35 Program are already commencing flying following conclusion of their inspections.”