US F-35 fighter jet cleared to fly: Pentagon
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
This undated handout image obtained on April 22, 2009 courtesy of the Joint Strike Fighter program site, shows the F-35 JSF. The United States' troubled fleet of F-35 fighter jets have been cleared to fly again, the Pentagon said on July 15, 2014. AFP PhotoThe United States' troubled fleet of F-35 fighter jets have been cleared to fly again, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
The costly stealth planes known as the Joint Strike Fighter had been grounded last week after one of the plane's engines caught fire during takeoff on June 23.
The Pentagon said Tuesday the aircraft now have "limited flight clearance" involving an engine inspection regimen, and that it was not yet clear if the planes will take part in Britain's Farnborough air show that began Monday.
The flight restrictions will remain in place until the "the root cause of the June 23 engine mishap is identified and corrected," the Pentagon said in a statement.
No final decision had been made yet on whether the plane will take part in Farnborough, it said.
At nearly $400 billion, the F-35 is the most expensive weapons program in US history and officials are eager to reassure foreign partners and lawmakers that the warplane remains on track.
But the project has repeatedly faced technical glitches and the latest problem turned into a public relations headache, just as the Pentagon planned to stage the plane's international debut at Farnborough.