The Pentagon Orders Fleet Wide F-35 Maintenance

An illustration of the F-35s engine during flight.

On Thursday the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) said all F-35s should be retrofitted within the next 90 days in order to solve an engine vibration problem. This order comes after an incident in December saw an F-35B bouncing and spinning uncontrollably when on the ground. The issue was severe enough and persisted long enough that the pilot was forced to eject. About 900 units of various F-35 variants are operated worldwide. The JPO says that only the newer F-35s are susceptible to this problem, but the fix will still be done fleet-wide due to it being “simple and inexpensive.” The JPO says this short-term fix “mitigates the risk of loss of aircraft should the harmonic resonance occur.” A long-term solution for the jet that cost nearly $500 billion to develop is currently being worked on. The Vice President of the F-35 program at Pratt & Whitney said that the company has already begun shipping engines with the new fix already installed.