Saturday, September 25, 2021
68.9 F
Fort Worth

Decision looms on global debut for F-35

🕐 2 min read

Rebecca Robbins (c) 2014, The Washington Post.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Tuesday that it has completed ground inspections of its fleet of F-35 Lightning II fighters but still had not decided whether the planes were ready for their much-anticipated international debut in two British air shows.

The Marine Corps’ version of the fighter jet had been scheduled to fly before prospective international buyers at the Royal International Air Tattoo, which kicks off on Friday, and the week-long Farnborough Air Show, which starts next Monday. But last week, the military ordered a grounding of its full F-35 fleet after an engine caught fire in an Air Force version of the plane, launching a safety investigation and casting the fighter jets’ big debut into doubt.

“I think certainly we’d be disappointed if we weren’t able to take [the F-35] to Farnborough,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a news conference Tuesday. “That said, safety has got to be priority number one, and it is, and nobody wants to rush these aircraft back into the air before we know exactly what happened.”

Kirby said that a decision about the Farnborough show would be made soon, though he declined to give a timeframe. A Department of Defense official said that a decision about the Royal International Air Tattoo would likely be made at the same time and that the military does not have a no-go date for the shows.

The military is now analyzing the data collected during the ground inspections, said the official, who declined to be named, citing Department of Defense policy.

If the jets are pulled from the air shows, it would mark a significant setback for the nearly $400 billion weapons program. The sleek fighter jets, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program ever, have been billed as next-generation aircraft, but a series of delays and a ballooning pricetag have fueled criticism of the program.

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Related Articles

Our Digital Sponsors

Latest Articles

Not ready to subscribe?

Try a few articles on us.

Enter your email address and we will give you access to three articles a month, to give us a try. You also get an opportunity to receive our newsletter with stories of the day.

Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date with the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in the Fort Worth.

  • Restaurants
  • Technology
  • and more!

FWBP Morning Brief

FWBP 5@5

Weekend Newsletter

  • Banking & Finance
  • Culture
  • Real Estate