The fifth generation fighter, Lockheed Martin F-35, was recently deemed “ready for combat”. However, the US Air Force (USAF) is grounding 12 plus of these warplanes and taking steps to halt the production of 42 more, raising concerns of improper manufacturing processes.
The F-35 warplane was criticized by many veterans in the past and has become a symbol of a bloated budget for Pentagon.
It is called the US military’s costliest weapon program ever. The project has already engulfed $1.12 trillion. The stealthy Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II was pitched as one tough cookie. But, this so called ‘tough cookie’ is crumbling like anything. The information available says that poorly built insulation material is “crumbling” into fuel tanks, which is a matter of concern for the USAF as it hampers maintaining temperature of the fuel.
Problems with material breaking off into fuel tank cooling lines “was discovered during depot modification of an F-35A and affects a total of 57 aircraft,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Friday.
Of the 57, 15 had been deployed for flight out of bases in Arizona, Nevada and Utah, according to the Air Force, with 13 of those belonging to the US and two to Norway. The remaining 42 are in production.
The first squadron of the F-35A jets was cleared for combat few months back in July. But, the latest revealtions make it un unclear when it will be pronounced ready for combat missions once again.