- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2014

The U.S. Air Force grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets after a fire aboard one of the planes pushed the pilot to abort.

The grounding only affects the branch’s 45 “A model” craft, made by Lockheed Martin Corp., Newsmax reported. The order came after fire erupted in the rear of an F-35 that was taking off from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida earlier this week.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters on Friday.

In a statement, the Air Force said: “As a precautionary measure, the Air Force has decided to temporarily suspend all F-35A operations until it is determined that flights can resume safely. This is not an uncommon practice following a mishap. It ensures the safety of our crews, and our aircraft so we can determine there is no fleet-wide issue that needs to be addressed.”

The F-35 is one of the most expensive militarized pieces of equipment that the United States buys, the news outlet said.

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