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Grounding of F-35s delays arrival of new aircraft at Nellis

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Updated: 2/24/2013 2:25 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- The recent grounding of the F-35 joint strike fighter -- the most expensive weapons project in the history of the U.S. military -- will delay the arrival of four of the aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base.

The Pentagon said last week that it has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets after discovering a cracked engine blade.

The problem was discovered during what the Pentagon called a routine inspection at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., of an Air Force version of the F-35. Other versions of the F-35 are flown by the Navy and the Marine Corps. All versions were grounded Friday.

Nellis spokeswoman MSgt. Kelley Stewart said Sunday that the arrival of four F-35s is now set for March 19 when a ceremony and media day will be held. The event had been planned for Feb. 28.

Stewart said the event depends on the lifting of the grounding order.

The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program at a total estimated cost of nearly $400 billion.

The suspension of flight operations was planned for 10 days, but will remain in effect until an investigation of the problem's root cause is determined.

The Pentagon said the engine in which the problem was discovered is being shipped to a Pratt & Whitney facility in Connecticut for more thorough evaluation.



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