F-35 STOVL Variant Grounded

Marine Corps F-35B short-takeoff and vertical-landing jets remained grounded on Tuesday, days after the F-35 program office halted their flight operations following an anomaly during a training flight at Eglin AFB, Fla., according to press reports. “We’ll return the STOVL variant to flight once any causal and contributing factors are understood and mitigated,” said F-35 program office spokesman Joe DellaVedova, reported Reuters on Tuesday (via FoxNews). The grounding affects all 25 F-35B test and training jets at locations across the nation. A fuel line connected to the F-35B’s exhaust system failed on a jet prior to takeoff during a Jan. 16 sortie at Eglin; the pilot aborted without incident, reported Reuters on Jan. 18. Air Force F-35As and Navy F-35Cs are still flying.