US F-35 Jets are Grounded Following Crash

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The Marine Corps and Air Force have confirmed the grounding of their F-35s is a precaution so the aircraft can be inspected.

A Marine Corps F-35B was completely destroyed in a crash during training in SC on 28 September.

"The aircraft mishap board is continuing its work and the US Marine Corps will provide additional information when it becomes available". The Navy plans to have their own version of the F-35 flying from aircraft carriers by February 2019. If the faulty part is found, it will be removed and replaced.

Inspections are expected to be completed within the next two days, the statement said, and a defense official told CNN some aircraft have already been returned to flight status.

The United States temporarily suspended operations for its fleet of F-35 fighter jets for 24 to 48 hours to check for possible faulty fuel tubes in the engines of the planes, after a crash in SC late last month raised concerns about whether the parts were to blame.

The wide-ranging grounding of the entire fleet comes after a Marine F-35B joint strike fighter went down in Beaufort, South Carolina, on September 28.

One of Britain's new supersonic "stealth" strike fighters accompanied by a United States Marine Corps F-35B aircraft, flies over the North Sea.

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The South Carolina crash - the first ever for the 5th-generation plane - ironically happened just a day after an F-35B successfully completed a mission in Afghanistan, an event that was reported by the Pentagon as a major milestone for the program.

Now the US military has purchased 245 aircraft from Lockheed Martin.

When the planes first touched down on United Kingdom soil, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "These formidable fighters are a national statement of our intent to protect ourselves and our allies from intensifying threats across the world".

"The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents". Planes known to have working fuel tubes installed will return to the skies. This allows the plane to hover and land vertically like a helicopter and is a critical requirement for the Marine Corps, which often operates from amphibious ships with smaller decks than the Navy's aircraft carriers.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has projected a total lifetime cost of $1 trillion for the program.

The F-35 program is expected to cost the Pentagon about $406 billion for 2,456 fighter jets that the services intend to buy, according to the Joint Program Office.

Other nations that have signed contracts to join the F-35 program include the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway, according to the Pentagon.