October 11, 2018 / 2:22 PM / 12 days ago

Pentagon halts Lockheed Martin F-35 jet flights to examine fuel tubes

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - All U.S. and international F-35 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin Co have been grounded so that fuel tubes can be examined, a Pentagon spokesperson said on Thursday.

The inspection was spurred by initial data from an ongoing investigation of the F-35B, the short takeoff and landing version of the jet, that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina on Sept. 28.

The inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours, the Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement.

A person familiar with Lockheed's delivery pipeline said the company was already flying and testing the jets slated for near-term delivery.

Lockheed is slated to deliver 91 jets this year. (Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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