Pentagon Ends Grounding Of F-35 Fighters - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Pentagon Ends Grounding Of F-35 Fighters

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(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon said it has lifted an order that briefly grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets.

The jets were grounded on February 21 after the discovery of a small crack in the turbine blade of an engine in one F-35 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

On Thursday evening the Pentagon said all 51 planes had been cleared to resume flight operations.

It said prolonged exposure to high levels of heat and other unspecific "stressors" were determined to be the cause of the crack. No additional cracks were found.

The problem was discovered during what the Pentagon called a routine inspection at Edwards Air Force Base, California, of an Air Force version of the F-35. Other versions of the F-35 are flown by the Navy and the Marine Corps. All versions were grounded Friday.

The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program at a total estimated cost of nearly $400 billion.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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