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. Jcube

    Like it or not, there are a lot of people who work within and support the systems and people who are in the defense industry. These are the best and Brightest people in America, and not only contribute to systems used in defense, but also in the private sector such as better safer aircraft and navigation. We need to look at the budget yes, make cuts yes, but not with a wide sweeping broom.

    February 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • marianna

      'These are the best and Brightest people in America...'

      Based on what?

      February 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • phred

      @marianna based on the fact that if you live in the U.S. you are free, freedom doesn't come without a price tag, and our military has the best equipment on this planet.

      Love It or Leave It.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • KL

      @marianna: based on the thousands of engineers that have worked to make this piece of flying machinery. It is amazing how ignorant this country is when it comes to science, engineering and technology. The level of detail that goes into every part on this aircraft is remarkable. It pushes the envelope of what is possible technologically, but most average people just dont get that. Those same developments will make there way into civilian use in ways we can't even imagine yet and will spur new economic development.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Based on the fact they passed a ridiculous hiring process that can last more year that includes several interviews, tests, background checks and top secret security clearances....

      February 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ted davey

      I agrree war with N korea s and Iran seems immient we will need everything we got why not cut the Joint chiefs and ess no pentagon admin. budget it serves no real purpose

      February 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jacob

      doesn't matter...the issue is not the engineers or scientist or designers... the problem are the management and politicians and lobbyists and aerospace unions...the'regular' guy may be the best and the brightest BUT they do not call the shots. The F-35 program are not run by engineers and scientist.. they are run by politicians and management.... and these SOBS like to waste taxpayer money.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • marianna

      'phred' wrote:

      '...if you live in the U.S. you are free. Love It or Leave It.'

      Ooh la la, you sound so free.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • All Thinking Men Are Atheists

      Marianna, if you need to ask then you wouldn't understand

      February 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gork

      And, here's the funny thing while you're pounding your chests and popping open another longnecked Bud, very many of those people are immigrants...

      February 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • openyoureyes

      Dunno about that freedom bit...we're all economic slaves and our country is progressing more and more towards the day where we have 1% of the population with all the wealth and everyone else who works for them. Say goodbye to the middle-class. Also, saying "love it or leave it" is a pretty ignorant statement. People can disagree and work on reform from within... This process is provided by the same American that you're telling people to Love or Leave.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rad666

    America does not need air power.

    Other than WWII, which nation that has attacked America, has America beat in a war with air power?

    February 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • kramer

      You dont win a war, with ONLY air power, or ONLY sea power, etc. You win a war with a versatile military that is capable of multiple operations at once. The F35 systematically communicates with ALL branches of the military for an effective strike, and the capability to support ground forces, which reduces loss of life.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • dbrown

      Kramer, don't even waste your time with rad. You can't fix stupid.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Hahaha!! Because we HAVE air power!

      February 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • kramer


      February 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • marianna

      'kramer' wrote:

      '... which reduces loss of life.'

      Loss of American life, you mean.

      All others get killed.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maverick

      Carriers with aircraft create an economic warfare against other countries. These capabilities are very expensive for countries to try and defend against. We won the cold war economically without ever firing a bullet or missile. The key is to be offensive economically not trying to catch up to others.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • GEagle1

      Iraq in 1991. The Army did the clean up work in 100 hours, but the Air Force pounded them to rubble over 40+ days to make that possible.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • local

      Words of a true coward............run back to Canada dude.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • JaggedBlue

      F-35/F-22, the Military Industrial Complex scam run amok. We need less than half of what we are spending money on. And we never learned about nation building from either 1953 Mosaddegh nor Vietnam, Iraq, Afghan, etc. And the MIC wants more money so dual citizen Israelis in govt have to find a way to get Iran. Sad.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Williamson

      Try Iraq 1 and Iraq 2, and Serbia.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
    • ViperDriver

      What? So let me get this straight. You didn't like the answer to this before, so you reposted and look: apart from Marianna, who is naive to the point of "lobotomized" you got the same answer. Thanks for giving me another popcorn moment.

      February 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TBack2

    Do yourselves a favor, just buy Russian made SU27 Sukhoi fighters. It's far better, and cheaper too 🙂

    February 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • KL

      Ha! If you have death wish... Russian airframers are notorius for being sub-par. Just look at Tupolev....

      February 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ViperDriver

      Not so, KL. Russian designers have been noted for their remarkable engineering to compensate for a lack of high-tech materials. The MiG-25 that Viktor Belenko defected with was a basic lesson in aerodynamics for our engineers. "You mean we can just rivet it?"

      That being said...the whole MiG-29 vs Any American Fighter debate was solved in Desert Storm. We have AWACS, you do not, thus endeth the lesson.

      February 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ken Coley

    Were these built by the same people who make the 787? How can we spend all that money and end up with a piece crap.

    February 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • HI-FIVE

      You are dealing with one of the most advanced fighter planes ever designed. Its capabilities are unmatched by any plane production or projected. These planes have kinks, as have every plane has been built since the dawn of flight.

      you people should disconnect your internet.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lane

      The F-35 is made by Lockheed and Northrup.

      The 787 is made by Boeing.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. iranablome

    tback or wetback....its hard too tell

    February 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robin Bray

    Another plane we did not need. $400 for only 51 planes. Beyond stupid.

    February 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • KL

      This article is misleading. Those 51 planes did not cost $400 billion in themselves. Most of the cost is from the development of the aircraft. This cost is fixed and is spread out over the number of planes you sell. If you sell fewer planes, each plane will cost more. If you sell more planes, the price per plane is reduced. Its a little but more complicated than that, but this gives you the general idea...

      February 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • GEagle1

      I think $400 for 51 planes is a great deal. I can't even get an iPad for that!

      February 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan

    Well one good thing they found it on the ground! Still a awesome piece of gear. Oh so much complaining I did not see this much talk when they grounded the Airbus and it costs just as much. And the only way they found its problems is with emergency landings. But no one is crying about that!!!!

    February 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ash

    CONGRATULATIONS! F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, estimated to cost potentially $1.5 trillion to develop and YET there is a crack in an engine component!!

    February 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • KL

      Yes, one crack in one part of thousands of components in the engine.

      February 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ARB

      Dont forget the Naval version had a small problem. No place to install the arrester hook. Bit of a design flaw for a plane to based on a carrier don't you think?

      February 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. marianna

    You're wasting your time, Mr. 'know the facts'.

    Kramer probably works for Lockheed Martin.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnk

      And you my other Mr. Know-it -all are completely wrong. The F-22 is by far a superior fighter aircraft over this cost overrun plane the F-35. If the military was in its toes, it would be developing a drone jet that could land and take off from new modern carriers. These carries would not look like anything today. They would be much smaller, much much faster, multi- hull and carry a totally different strike force, able to go anywhere in the world very fast with quick response. And if the politicians where with half a brain they would have in place a set of rules of engagement fully written out and defined for the world to see and understand, it is a cause and effect action. But of course, I am asking for to much intelligence from Washington.

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

      Find out what the X-47B is, and the UCLASS program. We are way ahead of you already, but it requires the F-35 to work in tandem with these UAVs.

      February 22, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • southside mike

      THe F22 just sufficates it's pilots. The F35 is so important we have not found a use for them in our last 3 wars

      February 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Williamson

      They were not built in time for use in our last three wars- your comments are either stupid or ignorant.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
    • glennrobert

      The F35 for only 8 billion a copy, can I buy one. The F22 a work in progress for the last 20 years. (?) How about another batch of F16 fighter bombers.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      What's an F-16 Fighter Bomber?

      February 23, 2013 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wallace

      "The F35 for only 8 billion a copy, can I buy one" Where did you get that exaggerated figure?

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

      The F35 isn't even in service yet, as such they can not be used in wars.

      February 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • FlyNavy

      JohnK you are out of the loop, the military/Navy currently has unmanned drones that are in the testing phase of launching from the steam catapult system used on aircraft carriers. The first sucessful launch and others took place months ago. A word of advice know the facts before you start spewing nonsence.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Realityblowz

      Iran probably has a lab already set up to disassemble this one as soon as it snags it.

      February 23, 2013 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • ARB

      Why the need to launch from a catapult when DARPA is working on Drones that can be recharged in flight.

      Makes the need for big expensive carriers kinda hard to justify in some cases.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ronvan

      johnk: Good comment and points! Actually saw, on TV, a story about the same things you are saying. While animated the carriers were definitely NOT the super carriers that we know and see! While I understand todays fighter & bomber pilots are reluctant to accept unmanned aircraft, I would, personally, rather loose a drone than a human!

      February 23, 2013 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • dronesremotecontroljets

      With today's wireless technology, drones or planeswith no pilot is possible it wasn't possible to have drones or unmaneed jets even 20 years ago, the wireless and satellites or technology just wasn't there. pilots just control the planes from the base or behind enemy fire range of missles. the future is machines controlled remotely. robots in the battlefield.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin

      No, you're asking for "too" much intelligence from Washington, not "to" much. Maybe you should start at home.

      February 23, 2013 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • kortee

      they learned nothing from Vietnam....nation building , leaving troops open for attacks, more billions down the toilet...thrown at people who would stab you in the back for stepping on their soil.....disgusting ....I blame our military for not leading the civilians to a smarter war strategy....lives wasted for what? If we had a "draft/ conscription " the whole damn thing would have been over long ago.......volunteers are expendable? Not in my America!

      February 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James

    Can we please cancel this damn thing? Already over budget and behind schedule. The F-18 fly-away cost was $40 million the F-35 is ~230 million, cut the F-35, take the money to upgrade the F-18's, give the troops a pay raise and the rest for deficit reduction.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. us_1776

    Mothball these ridiculously expensive things and don't buy any more.

    Could buy 1000 used fighters for the price of 1 of these.


    February 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      When your country launches a thousand used fighter planes and "just one" F-35 still slips in and destroys 80% of your radar and command systems and slips out with getting fired on, you are going to be so embarrassed.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tony

    The problem is that if the government does not spend all those $$ in military equipment alot of people will be unemployeed. Then you will be B***G on the the unemployment article about unemployment being to high. LOL.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • us_1776

      No, we redirect the money to public works projects that are desperately needed around the country.

      Employment impact: more jobs gained


      February 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. loonatickman

    The pentagon should ask the chinese how to fix the problems – they undoubtedly have a full set of tech specs and have already reverse engineered the F35!

    February 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Aerospace Engineer

    UAV drones can support the same missions.... for a hellauva lot less money..... btw, sounds like alot of know-nothings on this comment platform.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ricky

    Super overpriced fleet. Just an example of waste in the defense budget; or how I like to call it, the "defense welfare program". We overpay for everything, and we buy stuff we don't need because lobbyists convince our representatives in Washington to do so. In turn they return the favor with campaign contributions.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
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