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. Paul

    That $400 Billion must be an error.

    February 22, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DJ

    People involved in this program should be prosecuted. This is one of the most corrupt weapon purchase in history

    February 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • US Citizen

      $400 billion / 51 =$ 7.8 billion per plane- i think they shoud

      February 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      Over a 1.5 trillion in the next 12 years. And that dosnt include the 3 trillion or so from other NATO states.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TTom

    1/32 our national debt could have been avoided by not even purchasing these. Imagine how easily the government could cut a few things in the budget we don't need. If only they'd grow some nuts. Last I checked, the drones killed over a thousand people. I don't think they'd have cost a fraction of that amount. Those figures probably aren't even including maintenance costs.

    February 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jv

    its not 51 jets for 400 billion.. the entire fleet will consist of more than 300 planes with that money.

    February 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stiv

      Actually, the entire cost of the weapons system including development costs is projected to be $1.5 trillion. That's from the Pentagon's own report to the CBO. Turns out it was a bad idea to put it into production before the design had even been finalized.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      the total cost is 1.5 trillion for all those.. the current 51 +R&R spent is now $400 billion.. less than 1/3 the entire cost.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      Actually 2400 for the US alone and 3500 including allies

      February 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TTom

    We have politicians who don't even blink at allowing that kind of spending on defense. Yet asking to insure our fellow Americans with health benefits was unfathomable. People sure do have their priorities confused.

    February 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      When it comes to priorities wrong, it is the Republican party mostly. They're the pro military anti health care establishment.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • croco3

      They know exactly what they are doing!

      February 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    American taxpayers have the right to get more for their money than this turkey.

    February 22, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kenneypco

    The military spent over $400 BILLION dollars on this over budget and under performance project. Built by American contractors/corporations who got paid to make a quality product and now the stuff is falling apart. We should b e able to get our money back plus maintenance fees.

    The US Military is screaming about a mere $65 billion in budget cuts after wasting over $400 billion on these planes.

    February 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike from Toronto Kanada

    ...The Saab Gripen (NG/E) would be a good start for a stop-gap! It's excellent for arctic climates (Alaska, Canadian Arctic etc), it has small RCS, can take off and land on short and bombed out runways), can be equipped with NATO and (former) Warsaw Pact weapons, cheap to maintain (same engine as the F-18), cheaper to maintain (10 minutes turnover time!) and is a nice looking plane! About 500 of these jets would suffice and maybe Sweden can bring some of the work to America! This plane has flown over 10 years and is in use in Hungary, Czech Republic, Thailand, Sweden! Buy it.................!!!!!

    February 22, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      ...and most likely still can't compete with the F15/F18 which is over 40/30 years old now.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ten Ocho

      Im not sold on the saab, but I am in total agreement that another platform would have been better.

      Im all for the US having the strongest military. That said, they way we spend is ridiculous. Projects like this are approved not simply because of what it gives our troops, but the money that is created by building it and going in to someones pocket. Meanwhile, Joe Grunt still pays out of pocket for several items.

      The USMC does not need this airplane. The Navy is the only Branch I can support wanting this. The USAF could have used the money to purchase additional F-22's and develop a better strike capability. However, at this point, its too big to fail....

      Personally, I'd look to the rafael before the grippen. If only the Typhoon was carrier capable...

      February 22, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. elad

    when i was in the navy in the early 80's, the "new" f-18's were much criticized and the exact same rhetoric was
    put forth. murphy's law always apply. The end result or perhaps only most recent model has been money well
    spent. don't stifle positive r & d............

    February 22, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dangle66

    We could cut our military budget in half and still easily be the strongest military in the world... and some people complain about the 1% of our budget that goes to NASA

    February 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      Whats even more hilarious is NASA doesn't Techniquely need the money. Their inventions could help sustain them for the remainder of our lives if they keep innovating like they have in the last 20-30+ years

      February 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • copanut

      Actually the NASA budget is less than half of one percent of the total budget.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anon

    Didnt the govt provide these engines GFE to the contractor? How is this the contractor's fault?

    February 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bullet

    Pratt and Whitney has been building jet engines for many many years and no one can build them better. They are in a large percentage of all kinds of aircraft flying today and will be in the aircraft flying fifty years from now. The folks in congress structure every defense contract so everybody who votes for them gets a piece of the pie. That is the way they play the game and it causes problems for the contractor that has to fit all the different parts together, including the engines [which by the way are purchased separately from the air frame] and that is not the best way to build something as hard to build as this super advanced airplane. It is not a tinker toy. Lockheed/Martin has no input as far as the design and performance of the engines are concerned.

    February 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. axel Segura

    With 1/10th of the 400 billions You can buy all the presidents of the world and get a Yes on everything.

    February 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tomnikoly

    400 billion and counting. The plane without a mission.

    February 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • bullet

      Its mission is deterrence. We have not used a single nuclear bomb since Nagasaki because the folks that would be our enemy know we have them and want no part of them. Whatever the F-35 winds up costing will be chicken feed if it keeps foreign countries from sending nuclear bombs raining down on our population.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eagle Maintainer

    That's why the F-15 will always be the best!

    February 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
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