JSF grounded in US, Netherlands
The Ministry of Defence has decided that all F-35 fighter jets from the United States of America are to remain grounded for now due to an incident on the 23rd of June, in which one jet caught fire trying to take off. The Joint Strike Fighter unit (JSF/F-35) includes two Dutch aircrafts, which are also grounded. According to the Ministry of Defense, this is standard procedure.
On the 23rd of June, an F-35 'Lightning II' fighter jet was unable to take off when a fire broke out in the motor. The pilot was unharmed. A broad investigation has been launched to find out what the cause of the fire was.
The JSF unit is the most expensive weapons program from the United States government, with the cost of its entire fleet of 2443 aircrafts estimated at almost $400 billion. It is also not without problems. Some 26 Joint Strike Fighters of the F35A variant, which The Netherlands also has its eye on, was already grounded before.
Pending the investigation, aircrafts for the US Marines and the Marine Corps have also been ordered to stay on the ground.
The two Dutch JSFs are currently in the US. They are test examples, and are not in the regular flight scheme. One machine is in Eglin, Florida, and the other in Hill, Utah. These are newer models of the old F-16s. They are meant to become operational in The Netherlands in 2019.
It is up to The Pentagon to decide whether these aircrafts will be able to take part in the airshow this year. One F-35 showcase performance at the official naming ceremony for a British aircraft-carrier ship has already been cancelled due to the fire.