JSF gets green light to fly again

The U.S. Department of Defense is once again allowing F-35 fighter jets back in the air after a fire on one of the airplanes halted the programme. The Netherlands, which has two test units of the Joint Strike Fighter, had followed the U.S. in grounding the aircraft.

"This is a limited flight clearance that includes an engine inspection regimen and a restricted flight envelope which will remain in effect until the root cause of the June 23 engine mishap is identified and corrected," Rear Adm. John Kirby told the Wall Street Journal. "This information is an encouraging step, but no final decision has been made at this time,” he said, referring to a planned trans-Atlantic flight for one of the jets.

Though manufacturer Lockheed Martin and the Defense department have not made any conclusions about the root cause of the fire, the current thinking is that it was caused by blades inside the Pratt & Whitney engines rubbing together.

Last week, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Peter Bogdan said, ”It is important for the international community to see that this isn't a paper airplane," according to the newspaper.