UPDATE 1-AIRSHOW-"Excessive" rubbing of engine blades caused F-35 failure-Pentagon

Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:31pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* No F-35 on day one of Farnborough air show, maybe later

* Engine fan blade broke off

* Issue not seen as "fundamental design flaw" (Recasts with information about cause of failure)

By Andrea Shalal

LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) - The engine failure that has grounded the entire fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets was caused by "excessive" rubbing of fan blades in the plane's Pratt & Whitney engine, but does not appear to be a fundamental design flaw, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer said on Sunday.

Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall told reporters on Sunday there was still a chance that the grounding order could be lifted in time for the F-35 to make its international debut at the Farnborough air show.

Organisers of the show confirmed that the F-35 would not appear on Monday, but said it could still arrive and fly later in the week.

The United States' newest combat jet had already been pulled out of a British military show last week, after the entire fleet was grounded following a massive engine failure on a U.S. Air Force F-35 at a Florida air force base on June 23.

Kendall said the grounding had halted testing but he did not view the incident as a "fundamental setback" for the $400 billion program, the Pentagon's biggest, which still has about 40 percent of developmental testing to complete.   Continued...