The Pentagon is reportedly requesting a patch on all 900 sophisticated F-35 fighter planes after an engine vibration issue halted delivery, according to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Office on Thursday.
The JPO issued a directive Wednesday evening urging a fleetwide modification globally, not only for American aircraft over the next three months, as well as an urgent implementation for a limited number of fighters grounded since December.
The JPO stated in a statement to reporters on Thursday that it is not grounding any more F-35s, except from the freshly manufactured fighters that have been grounded for more than two and a half months due to a vibration problem in their Pratt & Whitney-made F135 engines.
The agency also stated that it intends to cooperate with military forces that fly the F-35 as well as foreign partners to ensure that they comprehend the technical order.
After an accident involving a new F-35B in Fort Worth, Texas, F-35 deliveries were suspended in mid-December.
Following the tragedy, Lockheed Martin, the aircraft’s manufacturer, halted acceptance flights for new F-35s.
These flights must take place before the business transfers the planes to the United States government. These groundings effectively halted supplies.
A longer-term fix is also in the works to keep the vibration problem from happening again, the JPO said, but it did not say what those solutions might be.
In a Tuesday conference call with reporters, Jen Latka, vice president of F135 programs at Pratt & Whitney, said the company is shipping new engines with the fix already installed.
The F-35 program is widely considered to be the most expensive weapons program in U.S. history.