| WASHINGTON, June 24
WASHINGTON, June 24 The U.S. Air Force said it
will resume flights of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35
A-model fighter jets at a Florida air base on Wednesday, two
days after one of the jets caught fire while preparing for
"We intend to resume flights of the F-35As tomorrow," 1st
Lieutenant Hope Cronin, a spokeswoman for the Air Force 33rd
Fighter Wing, said on Tuesday. The unit trains Air Force, Marine
Corps and Navy pilots to fly the new jets at Eglin Air Force
The Air Force ordered a temporary halt in F-35A flights on
Monday after a fire broke out in the rear of the plane, forcing
the pilot to abort his takeoff.
Cronin said the other 25 F-35 A-model jets at the base had
not shown similar problems, but declined comment on a possible
cause of the "significant fire" in the rear of the F-35.
She said the other F-35 jets at the base, the B-model jets
that can land vertically, and the C-model jets built for use on
aircraft carriers, did not fly on Monday or Tuesday due to
storms. Their flight operations were not been formally suspended
due to the incident.
Cronin said an Air Force investigation was under way.
Officials scoured the runway for possible debris, on Tuesday,
The incident has raised questions about whether a group of
F-35 B-model jets would be able to fly to Britain in coming days
for the plane's international debut at two air shows.
Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the Pentagon's F-35 program
office, said the fire appeared to be a "one-off" incident. He
said there were no plans now to suspend flights for the rest of
The fire occurred in the rear part of the plane where the
engine is located, but it was unclear whether the engine was
involved. Engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United
Technologies Corp, has said only that it was ready to
help with the Air Force investigation.
Lockheed is developing three models of the new warplane for
the U.S. military and eight countries that helped fund its
development: Britain, Australia, Norway, Italy, Denmark, the
Netherlands, Turkey and Canada. Japan, Israel and South Korea
have also placed orders for the warplane.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)