Pentagon grounded entire fleet of F-35 fighters after finding crack in engine blade

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon says it has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets after discovering a cracked engine blade.

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

Other versions of the F-35 are flown by the Navy and the Marine Corps. All versions were grounded Friday.

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

The suspension of flight operations will remain in effect until an investigation of the problem's root cause is determined.

The Pentagon said the engine in which the problem was discovered is being shipped to a Pratt & Whitney facility in Connecticut for more thorough evaluation.

The Harper government had signalled that it wanted to buy the F35, but after a political firestorm and criticism from the Auditor-General the Conservatives are rethinking the proposal.

With files from The Canadian Press

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