Pentagon Grounds All F-35 Fighter Jets After Crash Investigation

The Pentagon has temporarily suspended all Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets after one of the planes crashed in South Carolina in late September, according to a Thursday report from Bloomberg News. The Defense Department reported that the suspension is intended to allow time for “a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft,” which was deemed necessary after the department received “initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina.” The inspections should be completed in the next 24 to 48 hours, a Pentagon spokesman told Bloomberg. “If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced,” he said. “If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.” The F-35, which Bloomberg notes is the most expensive U.S. weapons system, is already grappling with more than 900 deficiencies.