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F-35 airshow appearance in doubt after runway fire

Stealth fighter caught fire last month prompting a decision to ground entire fleet

Lockheed Martin
F-35 Lightning II

One of the main attractions set for this year's Farnborough Air Show may not appear after it was grounded in America.

An F-35 Lightning II fighter appearance at the Farnborough Airport event was announced by air show organisers in early May.

However, the United States Department of the Air Force and Department of the Navy has grounded all 97 planes after one caught fire on a runway at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on June 23.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said: "The root cause of the incident remains under investigation.

"Additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered, and return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data."

As well as the Farnborough Air Show, the F-35 is also due to appear at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford from Friday (July 11).

Preparations for the plane's appearance in the UK - its first time outside America - are still continuing with a decision expected imminently.

The F-35s are currently undergoing testing with the first due to become operational with the RAF in 2018.

 

They are also due to be tested on the new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, the same year.

The F-35 is due to be one of the star attractions at this year's air show.

In May, test pilot Wing Commander Jim Schofield spoke about the plane, describing it as "fantastic", while organisers have also said they are "incredibly pleased" the fighter is coming.           

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