U.S. military grounds F-35 Fighter
Marine Corps F-35B test flight
February 22nd, 2013
05:54 PM ET

U.S. military grounds F-35 Fighter

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.

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  8. John Smith

    F35 is the best plane ever, except it does not work.

    February 25, 2013 at 1:04 am | Reply
  9. macross_goverment

    the us goverment should get the YF-19 and be done with it!

    February 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • BigShiz

      A zentradi fuked your mom

      February 25, 2013 at 10:23 am | Reply
  10. BigShiz

    If America was aware of the true cost of this plane(1.5 trillion over 15 years no one would be for it). And just to be clear you can put the same electronic systems in a 4th gen fighter at a fraction of the cost. China and Russia have 5 gen fighters in testing phase,but they'll never be even close to being able to go toe to toe with a f22(we have enough of those already).

    February 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Reply
    • David Anderson

      Agreed. Those advanced-looking ChiCom J-20 and J-31, and Russion PAK-50 fighters are where the F-22A was in the early 90's. The same can be said for the Chinese and Russian aircraft carrier programs. Just pretty and full of potential. But it will take no less than 10-15 years before those aircraft designs approach the *current* operational capability of our best F-16E's, let alone the F-22A.

      I like to tell people that although a single F-16C might be "in trouble" facing a well-flown Russian-built SU-30MKI in a one-on-one prize match dogfight ... that isn't how wars are fought. It is the maturity of the various systems (intel, logistics, etc.) that defines the battlefield, and he who defines the battlefield has a HUGE advantage. It is in that total systems-approach that the USA is the *real* world heavyweight champion. So cheaper F-16E's are JUST FINE, and they really aren't that inferior, if at all, to ANY adversary we are likely to meet.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
      • BigShiz


        February 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • david anderson

        F16v .... YES !!! Thank you.

        February 25, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  11. David Anderson

    The JSF (now F-35) program was supposed to provide the lower-cost, lower-capability side of figher mix resembling the successful older F15/F16 pairing. The higher-cost, higher-capability side was the ATF (now F-22A). The F-22A was a success because it, like the F-15 before it, was designed to do basically one thing very well – air supremacy. We just didn't need as many because the end of the Cold War downed most of the MiGs and Suchois we were worried about, and the Chinese threat was/is very immature and underdeveloped.

    The JSF/F-35 program is a dud, for now, because like the TFX (F111) program of the 60's, it turned into a "do-it-all" boondoggle intended to be super-mature on the first day of service. That just isn't possible with aircraft. They are the most complicated industrial products on the face of the earth.

    Yet our existing super-mature "teen fighters" are worn out, and we still need the strategic advantage of an ongoing combat aviation industry. We gotta build something or become irrelevant and eventually toothless. After reading many, many commentaries, it appears that the best answer would be to build a token number of JSF, keep the production tools and jigs, and give the project more time. In the meantime, build a batch of new F-15's and F-16's, using still-open Boeing and Lockheed production lines. Spend the real money on the AESA radar and avionics and weapons. These then-super-super-mature backbone fighters could STILL wipe Chi-com or Islamic Air Force fighters from the sky on the first day of battle for the next 10-20 years.

    Israel gets the cheap ones because they are the first line of defense against Islamic republics. Live with it. When love, decency, diplomacy and economic pressures fail ... the winner will be the side which has the most options and the will to use them. Having these options, and the will to use them, keeps the nuclear trigger farther down on the list.

    February 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply
    • BigShiz

      They still produce f15's f16's and f18's at a fraction of the cost. You don't need f35's when you got b1's b2's f117's f22's and thousands of 4th gen fighters.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • david anderson

      We don't have thousands anymore. The F-117 is gone. We have maybe 40 good B-1's, 19 B-2's. There are less than 200 worn-out "light grey" legacy F-15C fighters. F-16's are being retired en masse. It isn't the avionics or radar or weapons that are "worn out" ... it is the airframes themselves.

      Given that the supply, support, training and operational programs for the legacy fighters are fully intact, and the production lines are still open (churning out F-15's and F-16's), there is great reason to build new airframes NOW. Then you have a whole new batch of fully-operational, fully-mature, fully-supported squadrons that still match or exceed all expected threats for 20 years. That gives plenty of time to re-evaluate the F22 and F35 programs, AND WE HAVE BREATHING ROOM.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
    • evilroyslade

      The world is changing. LIVE WITH IT

      February 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Reply
    • David Anderson

      EvilRoy – the world always changes. Always has, always will. And changing economics, subtly mobile alliances, and changes in national strength inevitably bring military-based decisions like the seasons bring thunderstorms. Better to be mighty than to be history's b**tch.

      February 25, 2013 at 9:25 am | Reply
      • evilroyslade

        David, the mighty keeps trying to rule.The thinking and reasoning people have powers of the pen, purse and shaping public opinion. Now would be a good time for everyone to make solutions and stop the WAR MACHINES FINANCING.

        February 25, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • david anderson

      I get that too, EvilRoy. I've gone from former USMC combat vet to a gentle, harmless little puffball of a lawyer. I've learned an iitty bit. The thinkers and moneymakers have always ruled, whether in ancient Athens, Byzantium ... or even modern DC. It seems thinkers suffer from one huge flaw; they THINK they have everything covered. And they are ALWAYS the ones who miscalculate their civilizations into military conflict. 95%+ of real soldiers don't want war, but we stand ready for the day when all the other options fail. And like you said, change always comes around.

      February 25, 2013 at 11:24 am | Reply
      • evilroyslade

        David, appreciate your service, I'm not sure your a puffball lawyer HaHa. Your history of repeating wars and conflicts does not make sense today, now the people expect and want our governments to solve problems not start wars. The people are more powerful with the purse and public opinion thanks to 21st century communications. If we spent our treasure leading by example and supporting the people in other countries I believe the world will be a better place.

        February 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • david anderson

      EvilRoy, our respective talking points may differ, but I do agree that the people should expect leaders who govern wisely and without quick recourse to gunboat diplomacy. I just want to have gunboats in case we need them. But it's been fun blogging this with you.

      February 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  12. Sall

    While the US and the majority of its allies (Canada & EU) will be paying the hefty price for this plane's development and construction, Israel will be getting them at a liquidation price, in order for it to use them against "lethal terrorists" armed with AK-47s and home made rockets. As a matter of fact, the US will most likely manage to reimburse Israel for what it pays at a later time. We, tax payers in US and EU, have a lot of money to spare. You go enjoy yourself Israel.

    February 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • evilroyslade

      Sall, Agreed, it's amazing how America can stand behind decisions it makes as long as it oils the war machines.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Well said! Israel controls the US Congress, no doubt about this! Will Congress "sequester" Israel? No way. Make the middle class and poor pay for Israel's defence. Israel can't defend it's self without US support! What other country in this world is willing to support Israel???

      February 24, 2013 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • evilroyslade

      I don't remember voting for Israel/Palestine, Maybe we the people will get to vote someday after all it's our tax dollars , sons and daughters serving in the military and the American flag getting burned.

      February 24, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
  13. Quigley

    How long is this piece of good news going to last? I'd be tickled pink if they decided to discontinue building these monsters altogether! We already have far to many killing machines as it is!

    February 23, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
  14. Capt. Obvious

    With this many cost overruns, Lockheed should be at least matching us dollar for dollar on everything on top of the original price

    February 23, 2013 at 12:47 am | Reply
  15. evilroyslade

    We make money selling weapon systems around the world. We are the number one arms exporter.

    February 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Sure, but we make no profit from these exports! Most are given away free of charge!

      February 24, 2013 at 10:50 am | Reply
  16. George Patton

    All China's fault, they built engines with recycled metals.

    February 22, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  17. Germanicus

    Development hurdles.
    All new jets have them and this is one of then most advanced and complex jets in the world. Its still a little early to pass judgment until we know more. A crack in an engine component is not good but components can be redesigned and swapped out. The plane is still in trials. Now is the time when they suss out last minute issues. Its not like they have produced 500 hundred of them its not even in production yet. Remember even the P51 mustang was a lemon when it first came out, It ended up being the the worlds most capable prop driven fighter. The other thing is that it is slated to be sold to our allies world wide. Thats a lot of income and lateral strategic support.

    February 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Reply
    • david anderson

      Fair enough. I remember when the F-15 was a "deeply troubled program".

      February 25, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply

    How much did Canada and other Nato countries agree to pay for this F-35 junk? Too much compared to Israel. Even the US military must be envious.

    An agreement was signed after a number of years of contacts between Israel's defense establishment and the US Defense Department, and after agreements were reached about price, the integration of Israeli industries in the production process of all F-35 planes, and the integration of Israeli capabilities in the aircraft Israel will purchase.

    According to the agreement, Israel will receive the first aircraft between 2015 and 2017 at a price of $96 million per plane, together with simulators and spare parts, at a total price of $2.75 billion.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  19. steve redmond

    What a boondoggle the F 35 is too expensive to use and it is flawed after spending an incredible amount of money. Lockheed Martin can't seem to get it right making one wonder why they were awarded the contract in the first place. who pays now? The taxpayer Lockheed. hopefully the latter. Perhaps with the sequester coming this is one program that can be scrapped saving a fortune and making our day.

    February 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Reply

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