U.S. military grounds F-35 fighter jets
In this image released by the U.S. Navy, the Navy variant of the F-35 conducts a test flight on February 11, 2011.
February 22nd, 2013
03:04 PM ET

U.S. military grounds F-35 fighter jets

The Pentagon's most expensive weapons system is going to spend some time on the bench.

The U.S. military on Friday grounded the F-35 fighter jet due to a crack in an engine component that was discovered during a routine inspection in California. The fighter is currently being tested.

The Pentagon said in a statement that it was too early to assess the impact on the nearly $400 billion fleet of jets designed for use by the Navy, Air Force and Marines.

The program has been beset by cost overruns and various technical problems during development.

Currently, there are 51 planes in the F-35 fleet.

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Filed under: Military
soundoff (524 Responses)
  1. Major Bummer

    Finally, a piece of military hardware we don't mind the Chinese spying on.

    February 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. C L Bonner

    I use to work for Lockheed Martin and know the truth about this aircraft. Just because of a technical problem which could only be the materials used on the product. Does not mean the aircraft is no good. Aircraft in the past have had problems and were corrected and are the work horses of our defense. This aircraft is still in development and will do what it is built to do. So for all of you who live free in this world, think again.

    February 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel Hoffman

      I wantto live free of giving welfare to billionaires. This plane is a waste of money.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Festivusfortherestofus

      "So for all of you who live free in this world, think again"

      Huh CL? What the heck does that mean?

      You do know that the F-35 ORIGINALLY was supposed to be a cost effective replacement for the F-16, F-18 and Harrier but has now bloomed into a financial monstrosity which just keeps on growing. Understand you work for LM and that your sentiments lie there but even you must admit that the cost will vastly outweigh benefits. Forget the Chinese J-15, J-20 and the Russian PAK-FA. They are test craft and likely will never make it into production at least in this lifetime. The F/A-18 E/F, F-15 Stealth Eagle and ongoing F-16 blocks can do the job for the forseeable future. I will say that should the F-35 program continue then let it just be the "A" version and scrap the B & C. There has to be fiscal accountability.

      February 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • callmecrazy

      Mr. Bonner, with the state of our fiscal situation, can you honestly say the US of A can spend this kind of money on something none of us will ever see? Come back to earth and get into the work of saving our country. Otherwise there will be no one spending any money on pie-in-the-sky projects for fighter jocks to get their rocks off on.

      February 22, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      And yet billions are spent when there are comparable planes around. This is an ego trip for the military and a cash cow for the defense industry. Complete waste of money.

      February 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ken

      only 51 planes? All an enemy needs to do is beat the ratio with more cheap planes and the willingness to sacrifice a large percent in battle. For proper defense you need numbers as well as the tech advanatge. No matter how good the plane is....

      February 22, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimd

      And I used to work for the government and quit because of the massive wasteful and useless systems I was a part of. The F35 is not just suffering teething pains, it is a poorly designed plane that is too fat, too heavy, too clumsy and single engined to boot. You cannot build a one tool fits all weapon.

      January 18, 2014 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. Chris

    OK People, I don't normally comment, but i have to. The total cost of the program will be $1.5 Trillion. However that is for close to 2000 airplanes and to maintain and fly those airplanes for the next 50 YEARS. The $400 Billion number is just for the development and purchase of those airplanes. In reality the F-35 is doing a remarkable job relative to legacy aircraft development. If the F-35 was on par with previous aircraft development they should have already lost 2 aircraft and had one death. Airplanes get cracks, that is the trade off for building a fighter that is as light as possible while still being able to pull 9Gs. Back on the cost subject, for those that say the planes we got now are doing great, the cost to keep those planes flying will far exceed the cost of buying new F-35s which are far superior to legacy aircraft. Thanks for letting me vent.

    February 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good/Bad

      Finally a sane voice. This article is badly written and makes it sound like the 400 billion is only for those planes that have finished production, when in reality its for 2000+ planes for the life of the program (initial buy). Additionally this is currently under flight test, these sorts of issues are expected, and for it to simply be a crack in a fan blade that is minor, but does dictate a grounding of the fleet as a root cause is determined to make sure it is not something that is tied to the design that would impact all aircraft.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • bullet

      Well said. Folks need to do some research before they spout off about things they have no clue about.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • USpilot

      Only the F-35A will be able to pull 9 G's. The F-35B will be limited to 7 G's and the F-35C will be limited to 7.5G's.

      The avionics in the F-35 will be the best in the world, after the programmers get the code written, which isn't suppose to be done until FY16 meaning no F-35 will be combat ready until then. That's if it doesn't have any other problems.

      The Marine Corps doesn't need a $100 million+ aircraft. The F-35B justifies keeping the shipyards in business for the Navy. The AF needs a cheaper plane, and the F-16 & F-15's being produced for other countries can easily fill the F-35A's spot for a cheaper price. The Navy is doing fine with its F-18E/F/G fleet.

      IMO, it's a waste of money. It should have been scrapped by now, but like a lot of "toys" in the military, it's "too big to fail".

      February 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • FedUpInd

      This plane is NOT going to be around for the next 50 years. It is not a C47 or a B52. Why do you and others keep sayiing something so ridiculous. You obviously do not understand technology. EVERY AIRCRAFT we have ever produced has become obsolete by the time it was operational. I go way back to working on B47s which were obsoliete but so numerous that even if half were lost the damaged caused was still devastating. There is nothing this aircraft can do that cannot be done by miissiles or drones. The manufacturer "donates" millions to political campaigns.

      February 22, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 'Murica

    All i ever hear is whining and complaining about how our GOVT. spends too much money on defense and what not...But when crap hits the fan, we are going to like these expensive jet and tanks. If you really do not like it, gladly revoke your citizenship and leave!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      yes, anyone who disagrees with you must leave the country! sorry, we live in the U.S., not North Korea.

      February 22, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paris Miller

      Stupid people are not worth the time to reply too :-) I agree with you 100%.

      February 22, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. david

    Park em over next to the F22's. Guard them with the additional tanks we just ordered. Don't worry about the cost, we started a special program subsidizing farmers who will now grow money on shrubs.

    February 22, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anthony

    For the cost of this program we could build 26 Ford Class Nuclear Aircraft Carriers. We could build over 60 Virginia Class Submarines

    February 22, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jet

      And what jet are you going to put on those 26 aircraft carriers? The 34 year old F-18 for the next 50 years?

      February 22, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paris Miller

      How in hell do any of you think we can fight these video game wars with out advanced aircraft ? You let the W and his dad run wild (not mention Ronney RayGun) ! You can't have it both ways . W T F do you want ? Are a bunch of you females ? China is sure revving up their stuff ? This a combined aircraft. Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Army ! Many roles and configurations. One aircraft all branches !

      February 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. C.C.

    I didn't even know the F-35 was airborne yet.

    February 22, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. disgustedvet

    This the one we scrapped the F-22 for ? I guess with China and Russia being our best buds now we do not need an air superiority Fighter.

    February 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. anonv

    The technological curve heading into the next few decades will be advancement in drone technology.
    If we drop the ball, someone will pick it up. The most costly expenditure is human life.

    February 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. C L Bonner

    This is just for Festivusfortherestofus. You can say and think what you like but when your freedom is tested in the future and you wake up and find out that the rest of the world like China, Iran and others have slipped you a Micky then you will be crying for help. But that's an egg of a different color. Whether or not that I have worked for Lockheed Martin or any other company in the defense area, knowing that my safety is being looked at means more to me that the cost of not having it.

    February 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. yo yo

    Alright folks, you heard it, the F35 is being recalled. Please Fly your F35 to your local dealer for crack repairs to be made. Thank you.

    February 22, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim Edge

    Soooooo..... How many will we have to give to the Chinese to pay off our debt, when the dollar crashes ? ?

    February 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Waste of Money!

    US Military = Gimme! Gimme! We want our billion-dollar toys we can't afford!

    United States of Boondoggle...

    February 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lockheed Martin Headquarters

    The F-35 is the biggest wasteful abuse of Taxpayer money in the HISTORY of the United States. Did you know that, if the people bilking the U.S. people without their consent, had to give all the money back, we'd all get approximately $132 dollars back in Taxes!!! Go on extolling the virtues of a blatantly bloated, failed program, plagued with budget Overruns upon endless budget Overruns, and will probably NEVER work, they know that...if they made a program that actually WORKED, and on-time production, and any of the equipment worked, than they wouldn't make as much money. It's SUPPOSED to be a Failed project! That's the beauty of it!

    February 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jon

    This is the most expensive lemon ever made. This plane spent more time on the ground than on the hair. They should have stay with the F-22 or better yet with the F-18. In a couple of decades, this expensive fighter planes will be replace with cheaper UAV. Why spend billions on a plane when a comparable plane cost millions to make and maintain.

    February 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
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