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US Air Force grounds F-35 fleet over ejector seat component failure concerns

Similar problems have affected the United Kingdom’s Eurofighter Typhoon force and its Red Arrow air show demonstration team, according to reports.

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Washington: The US Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets because a faulty component was found in its Martin-Baker ejection seat that could prevent pilots from safely being shot out of the aircraft during an emergency, US media reported on Friday.

Air Combat Command spokeswoman Alexi Worley confirmed the grounding of the entire fleet, which was described as a temporary stand down, in an email to the Breaking Defense publication.

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The stand down was part of a process initiated on July 19 to check all the cartridge accentuated devices, or CADs used to shoot the ejection seats and pilots safely out of the aircraft if required, Worley told the publication.

On Thursday, the Air Force Education and Training Command also grounded almost 300 training aircraft due to the same ejector seat expulsion cartridge issue and on Wednesday, the US Navy confirmed it too had grounded an unspecified number of training and combat aircraft for this reason, the report said.

Similar problems have affected the United Kingdom’s Eurofighter Typhoon force and its Red Arrow air show demonstration team, according to reports.

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