WASHINGTON Jan 28 The Pentagon's F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter program office on Monday said quality control
problems were the probable cause of a fuel line failure that
resulted in the grounding of the Marine Corps variant of the new
F-35 fighter jet on Jan. 18.
Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the program, said the
Pentagon was working with the Navy to resume flight operations
of the new warplane, which can take off from shorter runways and
lands like a helicopter. No timetable was given for resumption
of training and test flights.
He said the investigation ruled out any design or
maintenance problems, but revealed a "quality discrepancy"
from the company that builds the fuel line in question. Six
additional fuel lines had been removed from the planes and
needed to be replaced, he said.
A unit of Parker Hannifin supplies the fuel lines and
other parts to Britain's Rolls Royce, which builds
the engine together with Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United
Technologies Corp. Both Rolls and Pratt were taking
steps to beef up their quality control processes, he said.