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USMC touts F-35B readiness as flights are suspended

12 October 2018

A day after the US Marine Corps (USMC) commandant said the service's first operational Lockheed Martin short-takeoff, vertical-landing F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) were exceeding readiness expectations, the JSF programme office has suspended all F-35 flights due to fuel-tube concerns.

USMC Commandant General Robert Neller told media on 10 October that "readiness has been surprisingly good". However, in a statement released on 11 October the programme office said, "US services and international partners have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations while the enterprise conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft."

The suspension is due to preliminary work to investigate the 28 September F-35B crash near Beaufort, South Carolina, which destroyed the aircraft, the programme office said.

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