US Air Force grounds all F-35 jets over safety flaw; Greek programme delay

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The US Air Force has  grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets over safety concerns reports Bloomberg, citing a technical problem with the plane's ejection seat.

A potentially faulty component in the ejection seat that could endanger pilots in an emergency is responsible for the action.

“On July 19, we began a Time Compliance Technical Directive to inspect all of the cartridges on the ejection seat within 90 days,” said Alexi Worley, spokeswoman for the Air Force’s Air Combat Command in a statement last Friday.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” she said Air Combat Command units “will execute a stand-down on July 29 to expedite the inspection process. Based on data gathered from those inspections, ACC will make a determination to resume operations.”

Lockheed Martin Corp. has built 820 F-35s that have been delivered worldwide out of a potential 3,000 for the US and partner nations.

According to the US Air Force, the planes are grounded temporarily with the news coming just a week after Greek Defence Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos visited the US where he discussed Greece’s potential entry into the F-35 program with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin as well as Sean Burke, the director of the Pentagon’s F-35 joint program office.