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F-35 fighter jet withdrawn from air show after runway fire

Fighter plane given only limited flight clearance by US authorities, scuppering chances of Atlantic crossing to Farnborough

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II

Farnborough Air Show organisers have confirmed that the F-35B Lightning II fighter jet, one of the star attractions set for this year's event, will not be appearing.

The US Department of Defense refused to let any F-35s cross the Atlantic from a base in America after one suffered an engine fire on a Florida runway last month.

Originally all 97 were grounded before flight restrictions were put in place, meaning the aircraft is not permitted to fly to the UK for any part of the air show.

 

The Pentagon's press secretary, Navy Rear Admiral, John Kirby, described the decision as "difficult".

"While we're disappointed that we're not going to be able to participate in the air show, we remain fully committed to the programme itself and look forward to future opportunities to showcase its capabilities to allies and to partners," he said.

Meanwhile, the air show organisers, Farnborough International Limited, described the F-35's withdrawal as "disappointing" but also said they "support the stance to never compromise safety of either pilots or show participants".

 

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