WASHINGTON, July 9 British Defence Secretary
Philip Hammond on Wednesday said Lockheed Martin Corp's
F-35 fighter jet may miss the Royal International Air Tattoo air
show this week given a fleet-wide grounding ordered after an
engine fire last month.
But Hammond said he was "still optimistic" that the new
warplane would be cleared to fly in time to appear at the
Farnborough air show outside London next week.
Hammond said Britain remained committed to the F-35 program,
and noted that it was still in the developmental stage.
He said U.S. officials made the "right decision" when they
suspended all F-35 flights while authorities investigated an
engine fire that occurred on June 23 when an F-35A was preparing
to take off from a Florida air base.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Potter)