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U.S. military grounds F-35 fighters

Feb. 23, 2013 at 5:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department has grounded all its F-35 stealth fighter jets as a "precautionary measure," officials say.

The action Friday followed the finding of a crack in an F-35 engine, ABC News reported. The plane is made by Lockheed Martin with a Pratt & Whitney engine.

"The F-35 Joint Program Office is working closely with Pratt & Whitney and Lockheed Martin at all F-35 locations to ensure the integrity of the engine, and to return the fleet safely to flight as soon as possible."

The F-35 continues to have support from many in Congress in spite of a history of delays and cost overruns in its development. Some foreign countries have said they might cut their orders for the jets, which would make them more expensive to the U.S. military, Politico reported.

The Navy, Air Force and Marines have their own versions of the F-35. The Marine version was recently grounded for a month because of an unrelated problem, ABC News said.

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