Pentagon suspends flights of 15 F-35 fighter jets

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2012 4:24 PM
Pentagon suspends flights of 15 F-35 fighter jets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon's F-35 program office said on Monday it was suspending high speed ground and flight operations of 15 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets after discovering improperly packed parachutes under the pilot's ejection seat.

The temporary suspension affects 6 Air Force variants of the F-35 fighter jet that are being used for testing at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California and 9 F-35 fighters at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the Pentagon office said.

It said eight F-35 test aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland were not affected because they had received newer ejection seats whose parachutes were properly packed. It estimated that it would take about 10 days until the first set of repacked parachutes were available.

(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa)