WASHINGTON (Reuters) – 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.
Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis