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February 11, 2016

F-35 Fire Looks Like a One-Off So Far, Pentagon Official Says

There’s an ongoing evaluation to get to the bottom of a June F-35 engine fire, but a top Pentagon official said Thursday that “There’s a growing body of evidence this may have been an individual situation, not a systemic one.”

The fire has put the Joint Strike Fighter on shakier footing at a a crucial point. At the very moment of this writing, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is visiting Eglin Air Force Base, the site of the fire.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, appearing before the House Armed Services Committee, said of the fire’s cause that “We really want to get at the root cause of this.” But so far, he added, it looks like an individual failure rather than a larger problem.

He also said there was no remorse in the department that he was aware of over killing the alternative engine. The problems that the F-35 engine has encountered thus far are ones that the department would have “likely encountered with any engine in development,” he said.


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