F-35 Flight Operations Suspended
(Source: F-35 Joint Program Office; issued Oct. 11, 2018)
The U.S. Services and international partners have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations while the enterprise conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft,” the F-35 Joint Program Office announced in a statement Thursday morning.

If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status. Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The grounding is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina on 28 September. The aircraft mishap board is continuing its work and the U.S. Marine Corps will provide additional information when it becomes available.

The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents. We will take every measure to ensure safe operations while we deliver, sustain and modernize the F-35 for the warfighter and our defense partners.

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F-35 Inspections
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Oct. 12, 2018)
Various outlets including The Sun, Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph report that the UK paused flying of some F-35s yesterday.

Whilst some reported incorrectly that all F-35 jets had been ‘grounded’, today’s coverage is mostly accurate, outlining that only some flying has been paused as a precautionary measure while we consider the findings of an ongoing inquiry.

The news comes after the US temporarily suspended flying while inspection of a fuel tube within the aircraft engine are undertaken. If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status. The action to perform the inspection is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B incident in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina on 28 September.

Further inspections on remaining UK F-35s will take place today, but the majority of our aircraft have already been assessed and cleared. This includes jets in both the UK and the US.

F-35 flight trials from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth continue. RAF Marham-based 617 Squadron had been scheduled for ground training this week, so the development has had no impact on their plans. The F-35 programme remains on schedule to provide our Armed Forces with a game-changing capability.

An MOD spokesperson said: “Safety is our paramount concern, therefore the UK has decided to pause some F-35 flying as a precautionary measure while we consider the findings of an ongoing enquiry. F-35 flight trials from the aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, are continuing and the programme remains on schedule to provide our Armed Forces with a game-changing capability. We will continue to review the situation as further information becomes available.”


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