News / USA

    US Grounds F-35 Fleet

    FILE - Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters fly over Edwards Air Force Base.
    FILE - Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters fly over Edwards Air Force Base.
    VOA News

    The U.S. military says it has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets until it completes an investigation into a runway fire involving one of the jets last week.

    The Defense Department said additional inspections of the F-35 engines have been ordered. 

    Last week's fire at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida was only the latest in a series of technical problems and delays that have plagued the Pentagon's $396 billion fighter jet program.  It is the costliest weapons program in U.S. military history.  Additional delays could raise costs even further.

    An in-flight oil leak prompted an inspection of the entire fleet last month. 

    The Defense Department said the return to flight of the jet will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data.

    A statement on the F-35.com website says the fighter jet "can operate in virtually any battle situations, from paved runways to aircraft carriers to roads and austere bases."  The website says no other fighter has "the versatility and combined capabilities of the multi-role F-35."

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mark from: Virginia
    July 06, 2014 6:05 PM
    "The more you overtake the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain." Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineering Officer, U.S.S. Enterprise.

    Okay, so I jest, partly, with that shameless movie quote.

    But it is absolutely true. There is no way anyone, no matter how gifted and insightful they claim to be, can design a weapon platform (like the F-35) to fill so many roles (and be expected to fill so many roles and so many expectations) and be 100% spot on with all of them. In not-so-many-years past, the government would call upon ALL the aircraft manufacturers to come up with something within certain parameters, and then judge the design merits of each to see if any candidates met those requirements. Now, it seems, they take the manufacturers word that something works and fork out billions to see if it does work.

    by: Knoziack Chisenga from: Zambia
    July 05, 2014 5:46 AM
    Mark, I am not an American, but looking at the belligerent and aggressive behaviour of China, Russia and Muslims I can't agree more with you. Yes, America needs, in fact if possible, better stuff than this.

    by: Patrick from: Ca
    July 05, 2014 12:30 AM
    This endless war is rediculous, nobody is going to attack us! Maybe some terrorist but the f35 won't stop that! Stop wasting our money and let's get real, our debt is out of control thanks to progrAms like this, Lockheed should be ashamed. If we want real security we need to look beyond war games and find new ways to build our economy, happy 4th of July everyone, I pray we can come to our senses

    by: Mark from: Utah
    July 04, 2014 1:18 PM
    To those of you wondering "why we haven't got it right with this much money involved", and those of you who say we don't need this jet:
    Your comments show your lack of knowledge about designing new weapons platforms and the technical challenge involved. All new systems have problems. Secondly. We do need this jet, along with the F-22 Raptor. American must stand unchallenged in the theatre of air supremacy. Period
    In Response

    by: Mark from: Virginia
    July 06, 2014 6:28 PM
    To my namesake from another State of the Union; I am a veteran of the USAF and USMC, I have worked almost exclusively on aircraft my entire time in Military Service, I have seen, handled and worked on many fine aircraft (T-33, T-38, F-5, F-4, F-15, F-16, B-52, C-135, C-130, CH-53 and CH-46, UH-1, jack of all trades, master of none)
    Each of these aircraft filled a certain role, performed a certain mission within the framework of the military, and performed them well. Sure, a few had teething problems, as would be expected of any new system or equipment. The F-35, touted to fill many roles previously held by other aircraft, is failing at nearly all of them. They seemed destined to find a place alongside other short-sighted failings like the F-111, B-1 and B-2. (the B-52 is still flying and doing its job while other 'replacement' aircraft are now rotting in the desert)

    My point is this; just because it is supposed to do so much, doesn't mean it is going to it all. Perhaps the design expectations are simply more than this single, much like the V-22 Osprey has become. Sure, it works, but it became a very expensive endeavor that still cannot perform as well as the aircraft it was designed to replace.
    Better, is not always best. Like the V-22, the F-35 is just another expensive toy for the government to play with.
    In Response

    by: nvr1 from: USA
    July 04, 2014 11:02 PM
    Right you are Mark from Utah, air supremacy from the F-35 and the F-22 Raptor ...When they are not broken down on the runway.

    And what part of these two boondoggles do you make the part for?

    by: Not Again from: Canada
    July 04, 2014 1:09 PM
    The F-35 has become a very sad program, with great performance expectations, but so far only great costs have materialized. Such bad experiences are just going to end up in more reductions and even cancellations for orders, which will drive the costs per unit to the stratosphere, faster than the plane can reach it. My own gvmt is in great duress, from the public, to walk away and cancel the orders.
    Underperforming products or services, inopinion are a problem of leadership accountability; for as long as people making massive salaries, are not held accountable =fired, be it in gvmt or private sector organizations, the programs they are supposed to deliver will continue to underperform in quality and overperferm in exponential cost escalations.
    An alternative method for improving production could be that all test aircraft need to have two seats, one for the pilot, and the other for the Sr person of the company responsible for its production, then maybe quality will rapidly improve, one way or the other.
    And the excuse that theething problems are common, is nonsense at this late point/stage in the program; the craft has no teeth left.....
    Very sad situation for all taxpayers in the US and allied countries with orders on this aircraft; if the sit does not improve, this aircraft will truly be worth its weight in gold or even platinum, and it will performs as if was made of gold..... never get off the ground = a hangar queen!
    What a truly disappointing product so far.

    by: Marty from: Seattle
    July 04, 2014 12:09 PM
    The Air Force Base in the story is spelled incorrectly. http://www.eglin.af.mil/

    by: Eugene Kyle from: Midwest
    July 04, 2014 12:00 PM
    With all the money thrown at this project and they STILL can't get it right? There should be criminal investigations going on just like General Motors.

    by: Be n Doty from: Clare,MI.
    July 04, 2014 11:57 AM
    The $396 billion fighter jet program is an absurd example of government waste of tax $$ that Americans cannot afford and is completely unnecessary.We do not need the f-35/or the costl

    The costly $396 bil. F-35 & F-22 Raptor programs are an absurd waste of tax dollars that Americans cannot afford & is totally over budget & unnecessary!

    by: nigel cairns from: san diego
    July 04, 2014 11:48 AM
    and the cost is $235,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.00, give or take a few more dollars

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.