The first F-35 for Luke AFB arriving on 10 March 2014 (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / USAF)

European debut F-35 now officially off

The first F-35 for Luke AFB arriving on 10 March 2014 (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / USAF)
A sight not to be seen in Europe, for now. (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / USAF)

The Lockheed Martin F-35 will definitely not be on show at the Farnborough International Airshow, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday 15 July. The decision follows a glimmer of hope that existed earlier today, as the grounding of the F-35 was lifted and replaced by a ‘limited flight clearance’.

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin said the decision is disappointing, but necessary as a safety precaution.  The entire F-35 Lightning II fleet was grounded on 3 July, after the Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine on one aircraft malfunctioned at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, on 23 June. An investigation into the cause is ongoing. Four US Marines F-35Bs and one Royal Air Force F-35B were poised to fly to the UK.

The F-35 on 12 and 13 July also missed the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Fairford. The trade airshow at Farnborough started on 14 July and ends 20 July with a public flying display at the airfield outside London. The visits to both airshows were to be the debut of the F-35 Lightning II, which is the result of a 400 billion USD defence program. The program faced a lot of criticism over the last few weeks following the incident and subsequent grounding.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

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