The Defense Department announced Thursday that all F-35 fighter jets, which are made in Fort Worth, will be grounded for inspection after a crash last month in South Carolina.
More than 250 F-35s will be affected in the United States, as well as nearly 100 in other nations, according to AP reports.
About half of the fighter jets are believed to have a faulty tube, including aircraft owned by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
“If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
The tube being inspected is part of the jets’ engine, which is not manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The engines are produced by Pratt & Whitney and shipped to Lockheed Martin plants.
John Thomas, a Pratt & Whitney spokesman, said about half of the 340 jets have the faulty tube.
“We’re working with all the customers, especially the Department of Defense, to come up with a process to identity and replace at the flight line level the part in question,” Thomas said.
According to a source at Lockheed Martin, the inspections are not expected to significantly impact delivery or production of the jets.
Inspections will take place over the next two days and some aircraft have already returned to flight status.
All jets at the Fort Worth plant that were nearing delivery status were inspected, cleared and were back in the air, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said Thursday afternoon.
On Sept. 28, a Marine F-35 crashed in South Carolina, The Washington Post reported. The Marine pilot safely ejected before the crash. Initial data gathered from the crash pointed to possible problems with the fuel tubes, the New York Times reported.
The full investigation into the crash is ongoing.
The F-35 fleet is the most expensive weapons system in the United States and the fighter planes are manufactured at Lockheed Martin’s plant in Fort Worth.
The plant employs about 14,500 people, including 8,800 on the F-35 program.