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. anchorite

    $400 billion for a fleet of 51? That can't be right. That's over $7.5 billion per plane. That would mean each F-35 cost 15 times as much as an F-117 stealth fighter.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dude

      The F-35s come with three sets of decals.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Artie

    This is exactly the kind of crap we can save $$$ on by cutting the defense budget!!!

    February 22, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Exactly. but, these are pork-barrel / special interest programs for our permanent political class – don't expect rational thinking to prevail.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Couldn't agree more, not to mention drones are a hell of a lot cheaper... "And no pilot risks."

      February 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • phearis

      Whoa! Time out ..... Am I doing the math right here?!?! $400-Billion dollar fleet, there are 51 jets in the fleet, that means that each jet costs $7.84-Billion?!?! Yeah, no bloated military budget there.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • OniSec3

      actually no... its what happens when u go for the lowest bidder... this concept is...meh... shoulda focused on the f22 more.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldJoe

      $400B for the program. It counts 1,300 suppliers in 45 states supporting 133,000 jobs.

      So let's figure this out.

      Give $3,007,518.79 to each of the 133,000 people.

      Problem solved.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • levend

      Is new government funded charity? As wasting money to employ people, give them government jobs if thats the cash its cheaper.
      Its not ok to waste money as long as it employs people, hospitals, schools etc could employ just as many people for less. Thats not an argument.

      February 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CorJay

    You internet trolls are so freaking ignorant. My 1st post EVER. And my last.

    Air supremacy wins wars. Morons. And yes Marianna, OTHERs get killed. As in not US. That's the point you moron. lol.

    Let someone else die for their country. Or maybe you'd like to Marianna? I'll take the F-35 when people smarter than all of us claim its safe.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      You don't understand, we don't have the money for this garbage, and buddy if you have been keeping up with recent events, guess what, we own air supremacy.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Artie, Bob, and David are ignorant like most Americans who enjoy the many freedoms that the military provides by winning wars with superior technology and minimal collateral damage. It's sad to see that this is the majority of peoples' opinion on defense spending.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aztech

      CorJay – People smarter than us have been warning us about this system for some time now. Yes, we need a new generation fighter, just not this one. It can't fight, can't climb and can't run. This and the "22" just aren't the real deal. Our pilots deserve the best we can make and this piece of junk doesn't fit the bill! Just my informed opinion.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Yeah. That's been the doctrine of the US military starting in WW2. How many wars has air supremacy won for the US out of the countless ones it has waged since then? Exactly ZERO.

      February 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aztech

      CorJay – I should also have said – and now it can't fly but here's the reason I passed on that. We have these here in Arizona. No problems with defense spending here. 2 weeks age the F-35 pilots were told to stay away from thunderstorms because this thing can't get near lightning. Can't get near lightning ????? It's the damn F-35 Lightning II for goodness sake. Can't get near lightning? Really?????

      February 22, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Guess what Sam, I use to build this stuff, and I support a strong military, but this is project has gone overboard, and you are not taking in the ever advancing technology that is taking place. It won't be long before even third world countries will be able to build advance stuff that can make the F35 obsolete in as little as five years, and that is no joke. The world is changing at a very fast pace, and people stuck in the here and now, are blind to the future of tomorrow.

      February 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter of Melbourne

      So when the great pie in the sky superjet with shorter legs and less payload goes up against a greater number of su35's and who knows maybe kills half of them! what does it do then, when it turns away and loses all its stealth capability against fighters which still have missiles, legs and all of the advantage.... then your superjet dies and inglorious death along with the poor men who have been dumped in this turkey. Australia needs to dump this piece of crap and buy T50's off the Russians, cheaper to convert them to NATO compatibility than spend $200m each on this piece of crap.

      February 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. protius

    If the defect is endemic, then the manufacturer should repair and/or replace at their own expense.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mike from Calgary

    A most expensive plane that can perform all functions, in a half-assed way. Cheaper bombers are more effective. Cheaper fighters are more effective. And with a single engine, the lack of redundancies indicate this will be a less reliable war machine. In view of the above, why would any disinterersted nation buy this jack of all trades, when you could by a fighter and a bomber for less. For bombers, you could get 50 plus cruise missiles for less. As Canada and many other partner countries and disinterested countries are realizing, this plane is not a wise use of taxpayer dollars.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • lou50

      thank you as you are correct this is a suck America dry 1.5 trillion program. The tail hook does not work on the C model as it is to far forward. your single engine is right on unless the pilots are required to swim 2000 miles if they go in.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      There is good reason to combine a fighter and a bomber. Currently one way the US conducts wars is they put the aircraft in the air without specific orders. They fly around in circles waiting for ground or air targets to be sent to them. Air targets need fighters, ground targets need bombers, but with this aircraft we can keep as few as half the planes in the air awaiting orders because both types of missions can be accomplished by the same plane holding position awaiting those orders.

      Also, a bomber that is also a fighter can defend itself like a fighter without additional fighter escort. With radar advances and stealth technology becoming mainstream, we can no longer depend on stealth to protect our bombers like we have done with the F117 and B2.

      February 22, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    Cost overruns? NOTHING NEW!

    February 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. lou50

    Remember this is a 1.5 trillion program during it's life. We can not afford it and it needs to be terminated as drones can do the job better and cheaper!

    February 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Amen.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Germanicus

      Drones do not engage other aircraft or achieve air superiority. They are not the same.

      February 22, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Hey Germanicus, you are talking about today right? Did you know they were debating to even have a pilot in the F-22? I don't think it will be much longer before they start building drones for aerial combat. Now what happens when you pit dozen or more cheap drones against an F35? The F35 is going to go down, no matter what...

      February 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mick

    I agree billmosby thats why i said "latest concept" .. avro was pretty sharp in the day and could have built today's expectations and designs from their earlier success ...

    February 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. tangledweb

    Let me get this right; $400 billion with 51 planes in the fleet translates to $8 billion per plane?

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

    Now that's what I call a cost overrun or else CNN has it's facts wrong!

    February 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. levend

    Does the cost seem abit too high? Someone got a nice "thankyou" letter for this arrangement. Was it started in the Bush era by any chance?

    February 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jesus

    Kill the program.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mal

    I remember when Lockheed Martin claimed the F-35 will be the affordable alternative... Say no more.

    February 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. gore2030

    Yes it probably does need to be scrapped but the ignorance of most of these posts is mind boggling. The cost is mainly due to the R&D not the only the production of the aircraft. Most of this technology will be used for generations so seeing it only as a waste is very short-sighted. Also, what do you think taxes were originally proposed for? History will tell you it was for defense so please stop crying. Last time I checked DoD is one of the very few organizations actually trying to figure a budget out unlike any social program I can think of.

    February 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. khan in chandler

    You can say all you want, but – China, India and Russia are right on our tail. The technology that we are using fighting wars today is Reagan or before era technology (still 8088 processors or Ada), so think how far behind we are, but this is not for today, but for the next 30 to 50 years.

    February 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Bill

    Can we just ground them..........FOREVER??

    February 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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