'Most expensive ever' F-35 fleet grounded by Pentagon after engine crack found

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 23, 2013 04:40 hrs

The Pentagon has grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets after it discovered a cracked engine blade in one plane.

The problem was discovered during what the Pentagon called a routine inspection at Edwards Air Force Base, California, of an F-35A, the Air Force version of the sleek new plane.

According to Fox News, the Navy and the Marine Corps are buying other versions of the F-35, which is intended to replace older fighters like the Air Force F-16 and the Navy F/A-18.

All versions, a total of 51 planes, were grounded on Friday pending a more in-depth evaluation of the problem discovered at Edwards.

None of the planes have been fielded for combat operations, all are undergoing testing, the report said.

According to the report, the Pentagon said it is too early to know the full impact of the newly discovered problem.

The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program at a total estimated cost of nearly 400 billion dollars.

The Pentagon envisions buying more than 2,400 F-35s, but some members of Congress are balking at the price tag. (ANI)

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