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Pentagon grounds F-35 fighters

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By The Washington Post
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 8:45 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Friday grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets as a result of a cracked engine blade in one plane.

The problem was discovered during what the Pentagon called a routine inspection at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., of an F-35A, the Air Force version of the sleek new plane. The Navy and the Marine Corps are buying other versions of the F-35, which is intended to replace older fighters like the Air Force F-16 and the Navy F/A-18.

All versions — a total of 51 planes — were grounded pending a more in-depth evaluation of the problem discovered at Edwards. None of the planes has been fielded for combat operations; all are undergoing testing.

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