By Mike Mount
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 Pentagon said in a statement that it was too early to assess the impact on the fleet of jets designed for use by the Navy, Air Force and Marines.
The nearly $400 billion Joint Strike Fighter is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons system. It is currently being tested.
The program has been beset by cost overruns and various technical problems during development.
Currently, there 51 planes in the F-35 fleet.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has obtained detailed photographs of a new stealth fighter being tested in China.
It is the second such stealth fighter China has tested in as many years and appears destined to become the communist nation's future aircraft carrier-based fighter jet, according to weapons analysts.
The plane, dubbed by outsiders as the J-31, was test flown Tuesday in Shenyang. According to the analysts, the two photographs obtained by CNN appear to have been leaked by officials in China.
"It has to be an official photographer because nobody else can get that close to the airplane," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org. "These are all publicity photos from the factory, and I could not imagine that the factory would publicize these things without somebody higher up in the food chain authorizing it."
Richard Fisher, a senior fellow in Asian military affairs at the International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC), agrees these are not pictures sent out surreptitiously by some Chinese aviation aficionado. "The Internet censors are controlling this process, have no doubt that."
But Fisher said the reason for the release may not be as threatening as some might imagine.
"It's being done in a way to help promote pro-military nationalism in China. There's just a huge, large audience in China for this kind of information. It's kind of like NASCAR."