Air Force grounds entire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet due to faulty part in ejection seat 

BREAKING NEWS: Air Force grounds entire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet due to faulty part in ejection seat

The Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters due to a faulty component that could prevent pilots from safely ejecting, according to a new report.

A spokesperson for Air Combat Command confirmed Friday’s temporary stand-down order in a statement to Breaking Defense, saying the measure was taken ‘out of an abundance of caution.’

At issue are the explosive cartridges used inside ejection seats that blow the seat clear of the aircraft in an emergency.

The Air Force says that certain production lots of the explosive cartridges used in Martin Baker ejection seats have been identified by the company as being defective and needing replacement. 

The Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters due to a faulty ejector seat component. Pictured: An F-35B Lightning II attached to Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 1 idles on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli

The Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters due to a faulty ejector seat component. Pictured: An F-35B Lightning II attached to Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 1 idles on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli

Air Force F-35s use the Martin Baker ejection seats, and earlier this month, the service began an inspection process to determine whether any of them were impacted by the recall. 

‘Out of an abundance of caution, [Air Combat Command] ACC units will execute a stand-down on July 29 to expedite the inspection process,’ an Air Force spokesperson said.

‘Based on data gathered from those inspections, ACC will make a determination to resume operations.’ 

The F-35 is not the only US military aircraft affected by the potential ejection seat issues. 

On Thursday, the Air Force grounded its training fleet of T-38 Talons and T-6 Texan IIs to complete a similar inspection process. About 300 aircraft were affected, according to Air Force Times.

F-35 Lighting pilot refuels at Elgin Air Force Base in a file photo

F-35 Lighting pilot refuels at Elgin Air Force Base in a file photo

The F-35 Lightning II is the latest generation of US fighter jet and first entered service in 2015. It is considered the most advanced fighter jet in the world.

The Department of Defense currently operates about 450 F-35 aircraft, which cost about $78 million apiece for the latest model. 

It was not immediately clear whether the temporary grounding order on Friday also applied to F-35 aircraft operated by the Navy and Marine Corps. 

The Pentagon referred an inquiry from DailyMail.com to officials with the Air Force and the F-35 Joint Program Office, who did not immediately respond to request for comment. 

Developing story, more to follow. 

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