US military grounds F-35 fighter jets amid probe

The U.S. military grounded the entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets late Thursday as an investigation into a runway fire, involving one of the fighter jets at a Florida air force base, continues.


Air Force and Navy officials ordered the suspension of all 97 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets after initial findings in the June 23 fire at Eglin Air Force Base, which occurred as the pilot prepared for takeoff. No one was injured but the Air Force and Navy were forced to temporarily suspend flights.

In a statement late Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the "root cause of the incident remains under investigation. Additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered, and return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data.”

He added that preparations continue for fleet F-35, the Marine Corps version of the aircraft, to participate in international air shows in the United Kingdom, "however a final decision will come early next week.”