The US military has grounded its entire fleet of 97 F35 fighter jets amid concerns over its engine.
The suspension follows a fire onboard an Air Force jet at a Florida air base ten days ago. Officials say the cause of the blaze remains unknown and intense assessments are still underway of all flight tests, training and operations of the radar-evading warplane.
It is the latest blow to the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program worth around 300 billion euros. Last month an in-flight oil leak sparked mandatory fleetwide inspections.
The US says F35 jets are still expected to take part in two key UK air shows later this month, although it wont assist in the naming ceremony on Friday for HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s new aircraft carrier.
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) begins on July 11 while the Farnborough International Air Show starts on July 14.