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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soundoff (524 Responses)
  1. Ken

    The F-35 must be "Made in China"

    February 23, 2013 at 4:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • mark

      or Boeing

      February 23, 2013 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Name*

    Now why is this information public? Keep this stuff a secret America, our security is at stake.

    February 23, 2013 at 4:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rudolf vs

      It is important that our elected representatives, as well the general public, know about the problems besetting these aircrafts; that way we can hopefully have it replaced with a fighter that can serve our needs.

      February 23, 2013 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
    • ronvan

      Name: I totally agree! SECRETS in our country have become a joke! The U 2, SR 71, F117, B1 & B2, were NOT known about for a long time! The SR 71, for me, was a great secret, rumors, until they finally retired her! I have no doubt that they now have something else flying aorund, BUT, WE do not need to know about it!

      February 23, 2013 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
    • jonathan

      Maybe technical glitches and faults like this could be kept secret but why should they? It's not like this gives a foreign intelligence service and upperhand. And how would one propose keeping these aircraft secret like the SR-71 and B-2 in the 21st century? Not ever flying them in public places or in air bases near populated areas?

      February 23, 2013 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Voradtralundir

      The whole point of disclosing this information is so you the public know that the people developing the plane are being held accountable for fixing problems. Do you have a problem with being honest about your failures? If you do, it's probably because you have no intention of fixing them.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Many years ago Lockheed developed the F104 Starfighter. This jet at the time was the fastest fighter, and the enemies on the ground would never shoot this one down. The plane had a very small wingspan so pilot control was an issue. This issue was so tragic, this jet had two nicknames, "the flying coffin", and "the widow maker". Back in the Vietnam war era there were no disclosures of design or construction flaws, just build it, pay for it later, and lets defeat the enemy at all cost. I am glad to see for the sake of your military aviators and their families, things have changed, almost.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dave in Arizona

    $400B in this bad investment and the Republicans will continue to defend the military's spending.
    A relatively very small $600M in a bad investment with Solyndra and they're on the verge of demanding impeachment.

    And we don't even need these fighters! Renewable energy, yeah... we actually DO need that.

    February 23, 2013 at 4:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • 6185jp

      How can we, as a country justify spending so much on our military while our debt continues to explode

      February 23, 2013 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Nice stretch there Dave. Like there are no Democrats that voted for all the military spending right?

      February 23, 2013 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rudolf vs

    Hmm... It is perhaps better to retire those aircrafts & get fighters that can last till the middle of this century.
    The F35s are beset with problems that probably can never be satifactory solved.

    February 23, 2013 at 4:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      What kind of logic is that? It's like putting someone down because they got a broken wrist. This is a nice piece of machinery with a couple minor problems...if we solved every last engineering issue before building the first one of anything, we'd never build any!

      February 23, 2013 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. ronvan

    LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER! One would "think" that with all the "smarts" these people have they could build a plane without continual problems? OUR country has built some great planes, in the past, but it appears that MAYBE things are getting a little to advanced? The B 52, yes I know it is not a fighter, has become a legend! The A 10, warthog. A great aircraft for our ground trrops, and many more. If we already have tested and "proven" aircraft, WHY not upgrade them? Better electronics, better missiles? WHY continue to "throw" money away, and continue to pay the contractor when they cannot get it right?

    February 23, 2013 at 5:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ferit

      this aircraft combines a bomber and a fighter. easier to produce, maintain and train with one plane.

      February 23, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Voradtralundir

      Or from another perspective too expensive and too much for our current or future needs. And since you think it's a cool little bomber, did you know the Air Force also wants to start building a new bomber? We are already a pretty formidable opponent, at least to people engaging in the same kind of conventional warfare we are preparing for. But guys hiding in caves with cellphones and improvised bombs seem to be our current problem. Certainly a new bomber will fix that, right?

      February 23, 2013 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • KL

      This plane has been designed to last the next 40 years and will most likely be the last manned fighter this country builds. There are going to be growing pains, as with any aircraft. The SR leaked fuel while taxing, the A10 is nimble but slow and can't carry nearly as much armorment as the F35. These issues will be worked out, just give it time.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      How many half-trillion dollar fighter programs have YOU been involved with? I don't think you can judge these people...just because your job answering phones or dropping fries in the fryer is easy does not mean that theirs is, regardless of their 'smarts'.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. morelube

    This is another great example of the US tax payer taking it up the backside. Perhaps our overlords could spare some lube, and perhaps a pair of pliers to pull out the slivers ?

    February 23, 2013 at 6:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mizlplix

    I dont have a point to make, I am just here because I like all of this airplane talk...LOL

    February 23, 2013 at 6:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. kc_and_fa

    I cannot come to grips with why so much money is being spent on weapons that will never be used to their full potential.

    February 23, 2013 at 8:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • 6185jp

      I had a conversation at work the other day about this same topic. Why don't we cut some military spending to ease the debt crisis and/or spend the savings on domestic issues. We have spent trillions on military weapons that will never be used, therefore they were a useless waste of money. People will say no, those weapons were a deterrent.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      "weapons that will never be used to their full potential". Seriously? Tell me how you can possible know that!!

      February 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John M

    F35 is one of the largest investments towards modernizing our air capabilities. United States air power is aging and every year becomes more and more obsolete. Modernizing in the post-modern era is not and will not be cheap. Aircraft (especially military) have become complex in terms of equipment and structure. Everything down to the paint on the airfoil is specialized to give our airmen and women an advantage. This costs money, lots of money. And unlike your automotive, aviation is EXPENSIVE. The aviation industry will always make sure they get top dollar for their aircraft, because they are top of the line, and unlike cars, the next model may not come out in decades, meaning they must get their budget here and now for future projects and to stay in business. Because they are still testing the F35, I'm not worried about the grounding of the fleet, this means someone is actually doing their job and ensuring a pilot doesn't have a mid air problem that may be fatal, and then scrap the entire fleet all together... that would truly be a waste of money.

    February 23, 2013 at 8:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ronvan

    Ferit: In response to your comment: The fighter/bomber aircraft has exisisted for quite a while! The F4, F111, F14, F16, all were fighter/bombers. As far as the "jump jet" capabilities, vertical take off and landing, the Marines and others are using the british Harrier, actually for quite a while. HOWEVER, when I was in the Army, attending an Air/Ground course, I had the opportunity to talk with a british pilot about the Harrier. While he said it was a great plane, you had to remember that vertical take off and landings required more power, and fuel, to accomplish this feat! Once in the air he also said your next task was to find a "tanker" to top off the plane! It also is a fighter/bomber.

    February 23, 2013 at 8:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Will Robin

    We need another Kelly Johnson!

    February 23, 2013 at 9:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ronvan

    Jonathan: In fact the U-2 was only an unconfirmed rumor until they shot one down, "Gary Powers". The SR 71, blackbird. Same thing, only rumors and speculation until it was "retired". For me, that says they have "something" else, that we do not know about, as a replacement.

    February 23, 2013 at 9:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Belseth

    Just look at it this way, for the cost of those planes to date, and this is before they have seen a day of service, the government could have installed solar panels on 5 million homes free of charge. Just this one worthless airplane! It's turning into the new B-1 Bomber which also never saw a day of service. If they would simply cut military waste we could replace nuclear plants with solar and wind. If they would simply match Russia with military spending we could replace all nuclear and fossil fuel based power with renewable energy. That's without getting rid of the rest of government waste.

    February 23, 2013 at 9:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. ARTDECODON

    This may be a cover up folks.....The US Government is broke. Can't fly it if you can't buy the gas to run it.

    February 23, 2013 at 9:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      Big difference between broke and running defecits. We're not broke YET.

      February 23, 2013 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. aurelius

    The F-35 is simply not necessary, so why waste more money on it.

    February 23, 2013 at 9:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      Why is it not necessary, in your infinite military strategic wisdom?

      February 23, 2013 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • dzeee

      you talk, but I wonder where you know from. Just a layman's feel?

      February 23, 2013 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      IT's all a waste of money,that's because we have MISSLES that sink ships and blow up jets.GOV. job protection and starwar employees are screwing this country up.

      February 23, 2013 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      "The F35s are beset with problems that probably can never be satifactory solved." Kindly tell us where you obtained your aviation technical expertise to make a statement like this. CNN? Fox News?

      February 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
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