‘Small Number’ Of U.S. And International F-35s Grounded After F-35B Incident At Fort Worth

'Small Number' Of U.S. And International F-35s Grounded After F-35B Incident At Fort Worth


The F-35B after the incident on Dec. 15, 2022, at Fort Value (Picture credit score: Gherardo Fontana/@GFontana767)

Some Israeli and U.S. F-35s among the many plane affected by a technical directive issued by the F-35 Joint Program Workplace.

Some F-35s, together with at the very least 11 F-35s of the Israeli Air Force, and an unspecified variety of U.S. F-35s have been grounded as a consequence of the investigation into the incident that occurred on the shared runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Value, Texas, the place a take a look at pilot efficiently ejected from a Lockheed Martin-owned F-35B on Dec. 15, 2022.

A video shared on social media, confirmed the F-35B descending vertically from a hovering place, bouncing again into the air after a primary landing and dropping once more, nostril down. The second impression with the runway causes a collapse of the nostril gear. The correct wing then touches the bottom and the plane begins to spin uncontrolled, till the pilot ejects.

Whereas the reason for the crash has not been disclosed, the F-35 JPO issued a directive to floor a “small quantity” of plane.

We reached out to the JPO Public Affair Workplace to ask for extra particulars however all we obtained in response to our e-mail is similar assertion launched on Tuesday Dec. 27:

The F-35 Joint Program Workplace has issued a Time Compliance Technical Directive (TCTD) to suggest restrictions on a small variety of plane, which have been evaluated to be of upper danger, from flight operations and till procedures may be developed for his or her return to flight. The affected plane have been recognized, and the JPO will work with the army companies and worldwide companions to make sure understanding of the dangers recognized within the TCTD. This can be a preliminary evaluation of the danger, and actions are in work that we consider will result in a refinement of this evaluation. The protection of flight crews is the JPO’s major concern.

No extra particulars concerning the U.S. army service and worldwide companions with plane affected by the TCTD had been offered. Nonetheless, the Israeli Air Power mentioned on Dec. 25 that 11 of their plane had been grounded pending additional investigation:

Apparently, the Israeli Air Power doesn’t function the identical F-35B STOVL variant of the Lightning II plane concerned within the runway incident at Fort Value: it flies the F-35I Adir, a home variant of the F-35A CTOL (Standard Take Off and Touchdown). On the opposite facet, different worldwide operators geared up with the F-35B don’t appear to be affected by the grounding: as an example, neither the Italian Air Power F-35A/B nor the Italian Navy F-35B fleets needs to be affected by the grounding in line with the sources we talked to.

Nonetheless, the extent of the grounding among the many F-35A/B/C operators is unclear, thought of that the JPO PAO has not disclosed extra particulars concerning the impression on the worldwide fleets. 

“A supply aware of this system, who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate particulars of the incident, mentioned the JPO’s preliminary evaluation discovered {that a} propulsion system situation led to the Dec. 15 crash of the hovering F-35B, which has now led to broader groundings within the fleet” Defense News reported. “The supply mentioned that, in steering to the companies, the JPO mentioned a failure of a tube used to switch high-pressure gasoline within the fighter’s F135 engine prompted the workplace to replace its security danger assessments. The JPO additionally informed the companies that jets with fewer than 40 hours of flying are affected, this supply mentioned.”

Thought of that the grounding impacts additionally some F-35As, it signifies that the incident on Dec. 15 that concerned an F-35B was brought on by a element that’s not model-specific however widespread to the CTOL and STOVL variants (though current/put in solely on among the plane). Anyway, we’ll report as quickly as extra particulars about this emerge.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and lots of others, masking aviation, protection, struggle, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Power, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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