The U.S. Air Force grounded nearly its entire fleet of F-35 stealth fighter jets over concerns of faulty ejection seat parts, reports Breaking Defense.
Air Combat Command spokeswoman Alexi Worley confirmed the decision to the news outlet.
"ACC's F-35s do have Martin-Baker ejection seats, and on July 19, began a Time Compliance Technical Directive to inspect all of the cartridges on the ejection seat within 90 days," she said. "Out of an abundance of caution, ACC units will execute a stand-down on July 29 to expedite the inspection process. Based on data gathered from those inspections, ACC will make a determination to resume operations."
British ejection seat manufacturer Martin Baker discovered the potential defect in its cartridge actuated devices, or CADs, which deploy a parachute when pilots pull the ejection handle.
The Navy and Marine Corps earlier this week grounded an undisclosed number of planes after discovery of a similar problem.
Naval Air Systems Command "has made the decision to ground some fixed-wing aircraft due to an ejection seat cartridge actuated device (CAD) production issue," the spokeswoman said in a statement. "For operational security, we will not discuss the exact number of aircraft affected, but this issue does not affect every aircraft in Navy and Marine Corps inventory," a service spokeswoman told Breaking Defense.
The issue was found in about 300 fighter jets, including the F/A-18B/C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the E/A-18G Growler, as well as the T-45 Goshawk and F-5 Tiger II training aircraft, according to the Navy Times.
"Since CADs are used in the ejection process, a faulty CAD may not allow all the functions necessary to take place that would allow a complete and safe ejection," Michael Cisek, a senior associate at the aviation consulting firm AeroDynamic Advisory, told Breaking Defense. "While the aircraft are flyable, I don't think too many pilots would be willing to fly knowing they may not be able [to] eject."
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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