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. Steve

    But the Pentagon killed the F-22 program in favor of these planes. The knock on the F-22 was that it was expensive. But as far as fighter jets go it's way better than anything anyone else has. The F-35 is an inferior plane, but was supposed to be much cheaper. So far it hasn't been. So doesn't it make more sense to kill the F-35 program and start building F-22's again? And upgrade the Navy/USMC F-18's since the F-22 is USAF only. Someone is getting very, very rich off this debacle. Probably multiple someones.

    February 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sol

      Both the F22 and F35 are useless. You can try to export these and nobody will buy. The US tried. Nobody wanted the F22 and so they told us it was for the US market only. Now nobody wants the F35. Maybe we should get these made in China.

      February 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. terminaldogma75

    Unfortunately it would seem that the going against the usual procurement practice here in Australia is going to have negative consequences, from a capability gap to having put our faith in an aircraft that cannot deliver. For the life of me I cannot work out why (except the powers that be being charmed by Lockheed) we would go against recent practice and choose a single engine aircraft (single point of failure) over a twin given the vast deserted areas this plane will need to traverse.

    February 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Shinden

    Lockheed builds parts in 48 of the 50 states so no one in congress will vote against it. Stop production and scrap the planes we can't afford them. Hell we never could afford them. We are still trying to fight the last war with these outdated planes.

    February 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • George

      Yes, cancel the program and have 133,000 people out of work. Then we can waste tax dollars to pay for their unemployment and welfare and get nothing in return. At least the tax dollars funding the program will give the country the most sophisticated weapon system in the world after the development phase is over.

      February 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ian

    400 billion dollars, 51 planes. Yikes.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      Yikes to all taxpayers flipping the bill for this plane.

      February 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      The kick in the teeth here is that the whole reason they started developing this damn plane was because they were tired of each service developing their own fighter jets. So this was supposed to be the Joint Strike Fighter – same for everyone, cheaper to produce, cheaper to maintain, interoperability between the Services.....and what happened? The Services all got their special variants – the Marines even got a short take-off vertical landing variant built. So what was supposed to be the cheapest fighter jet in history became the most expensive. Good ideas today become bloated inefficient acquisition programs 15 years later. So, be wary of the new good ideas! We can't afford them!

      February 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamessavik

      Do you have any idea what it takes to develop a 5th generation VSTOL fighter?

      February 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jungonzales1

      400 billion dollars for 2,400 planes, not 51. 51 planes are what they have in service now.

      February 22, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Russ

    Canada made some back room deals to buy this jet to replace our F18's and it's looking like the deal is another example of a bad idea.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • matt

      F18 is being replaced by the F35....While youre at it go try to buy a dodge Neon. In case you didn't know, that also went out of production. People are so misinformed. Don't argue something you know nothing about.

      February 22, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Matt it is still a deal that has been questioned up here.

      February 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • jefnvk

      Probably a bad idea to replace MD80's too, after all, they work, who cares if people have to fly in a fuel hog 30-year old jet?

      February 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Karl

    Guess we can add more $billions to fix THIS issue.

    I still remember when the Joint Strike Fighter program was first announced, all the players involved were tripping over themselves to tout how this program was supposed to SAVE money by use of a common platform across multiple services. So much for that pipe dream.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bob

    Lockheed Martin may have parts-builders in 48 states, but dropping this foolish contract should still have fewer effects than the sequester alternative. President Obama should delete this program as a cost-saving measure, then let Congress reject it – and tell the American people why they are continuing to pour money down the bottomless F-35 rat hole.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      Sorry the sequester is only 1/4 of 1% of the fed total budget. Its not that big of a deal. Actually we should dump both the F35 and allow the cuts to happen. Still only a drop in the bucket to solving our debt problem. That's how bad it is.

      February 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    Lot of money spent just to keep Americans working on a over priced technology nightmare. Keep it up America. Pretty soon China will be able to just buy America.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. matt

    Lockheed Martin does not make the engine idiots its Pratt and Whitney.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • CodeBlitz

      Now wait just one darn minute...this is not about Pratt and Whitney. Yes, they build the engines, but the Americans are still the ones that made that decission to build a single engine plane and use that builder instead of GE or Roles. Dont blame Pratt for being Pratt.

      February 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Yeah you are right. It was the Americans. It was US Congress that killed funding for the development of the alternate engine. You want to blame someone for that go visit dc.

      February 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bob aussie

    Let's build our air defense platforms off of Iran's new "GI Joe" plane they recently unveiled. Got to be a lot less than the F-35..

    February 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. matt

    This jet is still in development of course they will still find items to fix. Everyone is an expert on the internet. BTW LOL that an F18 or F15 could come close to this thing, they would be dead before they even knew it was there.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ViperDriver

      Not...quite. After the aircraft closed to BFM range, yes, certainly, the alpha on the -35 is remarkable...but the F-15 is an air-superiority fighter and has a radar and avionics package that reflects that role. The Eagle jockeys would "know it was there". Okay, nitpicking over.

      February 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sj2678

    typo in the article – should read, "The Pentagon's most expensive weapons system is going to spend some MORE time on the bench" since the Lockheed-Martin Government Assistance Program (sorry, I meant the F-35 program) was ALREADY 7 years behind schedule (a schedule that has been re-done twice) before this problem. forget the whole photo op with the bird every thanksgiving – the annual presidential "turkey pardon" is the continued funding of this train wreck of a program!

    February 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. martin

    On 25 January 2013, the Canadian National Fighter Procurement Secretariat issued a draft questionnaire to Boeing, Dassault Aviation, EADS, Lockheed Martin, and Saab Group to obtain detailed information on the capabilities of their available fighter aircraft.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sinbad

      The Dassault Rafale is the best you can get at the moment. 80 million a piece and a proven aircraft.

      February 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. us_1776

    What a colossal waste of money !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    .

    February 22, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Semper Cogitatus

    Grounding an 8 billion dollar plane. The whole idea that one single plane could be everything to everybody has seem like a con from the beginning.

    (Yes, i realize the "unit cost" is more like a quarter of a billion, but as of now those things are 8 billion a piece.)

    February 22, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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