Defective fuel tube caused September F-35 crash in South Carolina

A failed fuel tube caused the first crash of an F-35 jet in September of last year, U.S. government investigators said in a report issued this week.

“An investigation determined a manufacturing defect caused an engine fuel tube to rupture during flight, resulting in a loss of power to the engine,” the Government Accountability Office said in a report issued this week.

In September, a U.S. military F-35B crashed near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. The pilot ejected safely.

The F-35B is the short takeoff and landing version of the jet flown by the U.S. Marines and a handful of allies. F-35 jets are made by Lockheed Martin Corp and have engines made by United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney division.

A Pratt & Whitney representative declined to comment. A military investigation into the September crash is ongoing.

After the September crash the Pentagon’s office that runs the F-35 program said that some fuel tubes from Pratt & Whitney would be replaced during regular maintenance.

In April, a Japanese F-35A, the most common format for the fighter jet, crashed after being aloft for only 28 minutes. The plane had logged a total of 280 hours in the air. That was the second F-35 to crash since the aircraft’s first flight in 2006.

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