The US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps temporarily grounded a majority of their F-35 fleet following the discovery of a fault in an aircraft’s ejection seat in April, with Israel now following suit.
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It was revealed late last week that the US Air Force grounded their fleet of F-35s due to the discovery of a fault in an aircraft’s ejection seat in April, with the US Navy and Marine Corps shortly following suit.
The ejection seat’s manufacturer, Martin-Baker, has discovered a fault within the seat’s explosive cartridges, finding the part incorrectly fitted and missing a fundamental component to the functioning of the explosive – magnesium powder.
It is believed that an operator discovered the flaw after noticing how light the part was.
According to a news report from the Air Force Times, US military representatives originally determined the case to be an isolated fault, but later concluded that the fault, in fact, originated within the production line.
“During a routine maintenance inspection at Hill [Air Force Base, Utah,] in April '22, an anomaly was discovered with one of the seat cartridge actuated devices in the F-35 seat,” spokesperson for Martin-Baker, Steve Roberts, said.
“This was quickly traced back to a gap in the manufacturing process, which was addressed and changed.”
Over the weekend, Breaking Defense had confirmed that the US Navy had completed their inspections of the aircraft, with reports that three faults had been detected throughout 2,700 inspections.
While the US military has begun removing the temporary stand down orders, Israel has grounded their fleet of F-35s in response to the reports.
According to a release from the Israeli Defence Force, it is hoped that the grounding of the fleet would ensure “that the examinations must be done in a strict and thorough manner in order to return the fleet to full competence while maintaining a high safety standard”.
Israel currently operates a fleet of 33 F-35s, with an additional 17 scheduled for delivery.