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

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa More

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.
Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversaryi
X
May 05, 2015 2:11 AM
Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs