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F-35 Farnborough debut halted after engine fire

An F-35A Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing streaks across the sky above Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. while coming in for landing after a training sortie.
Source: U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III | Airman Magazine
An F-35A Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing streaks across the sky above Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. while coming in for landing after a training sortie.

The troubled F-35 fighter jet will not make its debut at the Farnborough Airshow on Monday, the event organizers confirmed, after a dangerous engine fire left the fleet grounded in the U.S.

Farnborough organizers said the F-35B Lightning II, one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world made by Lockheed Martin, would not make its long-awaited debut on Monday, but did not rule out a possible appearance later on in the week.

"The aircraft is still awaiting U.S. DoD (Department of Defense) clearance but we are hopeful that it will fly at the airshow by the end of the week," organizers of the airshow said in a statement.


In June, part of the engine of an Air Force F-35 A-model jet broke apart and ripped through the top of the plane as it prepared for take-off at a Florida air base.

The U.S. Navy kept a grounding order on the fleet and said it did not have "sufficient information" about the cause of the fire, according to a memorandum obtained by Reuters.

The delay is also a setback to the British defense department as the F-35B Lightning II is billed to be the cornerstone of their aircraft carrier fleet.

Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy were not available for comment.

The British Ministry of Defence said it supports the decision not to grant clearance for the aircraft to make their first transatlantic flight until the investigation into the technical malfunction is complete, adding that it is "confidence the aircraft will return to flying soon".

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