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. Tony

    Update and rebuild the F22 and move forward! Today's aviation engineers at Lockheed Martin and Boeing are the worst in American history. Bring the old engineers!

    February 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • rrock

      The defense department is a welfare agency for defense contractors. Does not really mater if we get anything useful. Just like all those tanks and landing craft we are building and storing away waiting for another WWII.

      February 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. C me

    I used to work at Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35 (but I wasn't an engineer). The companys runs incredibly inefficiently. It's too big, and effective communication is basically nonexistent.

    I wish they'd update the F-16, which has been around since 1979. Now THAT's impressive!

    February 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • GSX

      F-16 is impressive until you have to go up against newer planes, such as Su-37, updated SAM's and then they would be a sitting duck.

      February 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      We can tell why you no longer work for Lockheed Martin. How are things at Enron?

      February 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BD

    How has there been no major public inquiry into the F-35 program? Biggest disaster in defense appropriations history, you know you've screwed up when you make star wars look good.

    February 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      BD: "Biggest disaster in defense appropriations history" Kindly give us some facts to support this absurd statement!

      February 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • LordofEntropy

      While "biggest disaster" might be subjective, it certainly is a big disaster; 400 billion spent, with only 51 planes that aren't even in service to show for it. The planes still won't be ready for actual use for sometime, even if they did manage to fly one sortie recently. The planes didn't meet the range or runway requirements, but the program is so far behind and over budget, that the DoD just accepted the shortcomings instead of getting further design changes, delays, and costs.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Bill, the program is more than 7 *years* behind schedule, allies don't even want the plane that got pushed on them. While
      it remains open to debate whether this aircraft will ever live up to it's billing, it *is* well known that it has been a procurement nightmare.

      February 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • BThorn

      They haven't spent the $400 billion yet, BD. That's the cost of acquiring all of the planes they intend to buy.

      February 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ARB

    400 Billion in cost over runs!!! Inexcusable. With so many process standards like PMP, Change Management, Lean, Six Sigma, why any cost over run at all? If the vendor can build it, why is the customer paying for their mistakes? And the tax payer wonders why DoD costs so much!!!

    The real question is why do we need these jets in the first place? Drones seem to be doing more leg work these days. And how are $400 Billion in planes going to protect us when someone shuts down the nation grid infrastructure.

    February 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      ARB, you really need to learn to read! Te entire program costs $400 Billion. There are NOT $400 Billion in cost overruns!

      February 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • cybercmdr

      That's $400 billion for the total program, not the cost overruns.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • IndependentRealityDose

      Drones are great tools we should continue developing, but they're hardly viable replacements for piloted aircraft. They may be able to handle more G's and have greater range, but that pales in comparison to the total capabilities a pilot still brings to the table.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karen Stanley

    stop this insantiy. bring all the troops home and spend this on Americans who are in need. we don't need this!!!!

    February 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Maybe not in THIS program, but defense spending is necessary as the post-Cold War slowdown in foreign military tech advancement is all but over.

      February 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Doobs

    We better spend the Money on these & Make them every bit as good as any aircraft in the past & Better ! China is waiting at our door step.....

    February 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Claudius II

      China has excellent hackers infiltrating all our computers. Plus the US Governemnt's preference for outsourcing to Indian & Chinese engineers and not employing US ones basically guarantees that the Chinese already have all the plans.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philly

    For that kind of money, we could put every kid who wants to go to college, send them free, like some countries. Feed the homeless, reduce medicaid costs, and still have money left over. This country is run by the elite. That is our elected senators and representatives. One word STUPID

    February 23, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • btuburner

      you got that right. they take out tax money and blow 400 billion dollars on this? problem with this country it the elite are spending out tax dollars and won't tell us exactly where its all going.

      February 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JC

    ya know, $400 billion here, $400 billion there...eventually it will look like big money!

    February 23, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Funkymonkey1

    400 Billinon???!!! 7.8 Billion per jet???!!! That is insane. I don'y care how technically advanced this jet is. There is no way it can come close to being worth almost 8 billion dollars. An new F16 (they are still manufactured for export) costs about 20 million. What possibly makes an F-35 worth almost 8 Billion more?

    February 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      You obviously have no clue as to how ANY development program works. Your car would cost millions if they only built 51. The cost decreases significantly when spread of more and more units.

      February 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funkymonkey1

      No, my car would cost 2 Billion if it was comissioned by the government and built by Lockheed Martin.

      February 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • BThorn

      They're about $107 million each for the version that is replacing the F-16, not $7.8 billion. The entire $400 billion has not yet been spent, only a fraction of it has.

      February 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rml

    THIS is where the military needs to cut on their budget – these waste of money follies... First – why do we have planes in branches other than the Air Force? Specialize, and have the AF provide air support for all branches... the Navy provide water transport, etc... Marine Corps has been decemated by putting a fly-boy in charge that is clueless about managing Marines – and spends all his efforts trying to bring on-line this failed jet. WHY????

    February 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pickenspilot

    Money well spent. Spend some more. Fix the problems. Can't get it right unless you try. We can also afford education and medical support, but only if we exist as a safe nation.

    February 23, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Terry

    you people are all idiots, the US Govt has not spent 400 Billion for 50 jets, that us the total program cost after 30-40 years of use. Your ignorance of what the military does, needs, and spends is over-whelming...!!
    You people are such an indictment of the American Education System and you own willingness to keep up with real facts about your Government, Congress and the Democratic President.

    February 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Terry

    CNN you need to do a much better job of reporting and remember you need to write your articles at a 3rd-5th grade level. You average reader is very stupid and grossly uninformed because they do very little reading except sites like this. The 400 Billion is the total program cost in the year 2052 when the jets are fully retired. You got imbeciles here quoting $400 Billion for 50 jets, this is gross mis-information on your part and this shoddy reporting just adds to the American Peoples misconceptions about defense spending. Of course this could be b design to spread your pro-Socialist viewpoints of your staff.

    February 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andrew

    The only reason why this program has not been scrapped is the international interest in aquiring these planes. The F-35 is suppose to be the F-16 replacement. It's suppose to be a bargain bin stealth aircraft so it can be mass produced much like the F-16. That went out the window due to its incredible cost. They mine as well just build more F-22s because they are suppose to be the superior aircraft anyways. The 22 was suppose to be the stealth equivalent of a F-15 which is kind of why they never really spared no expense in its creation.

    February 23, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • BThorn

      When the F-22 was designed, the Air Force planned to get 700 of them. They actually only got 180. That shot the price per plane up enormously, which Congress used to justify killing the F-22. The same thing is happening again with F-35.

      February 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bluegrassmoose

    Dictionary definiton of the proper name for a group of baboons? Its called a "Congress" Spending like baboons eating bananas.

    February 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayne

      How dare you insult baboons like that!

      February 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
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