A report into the crash of a US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II in September 2018 has revealed a failed fuel tube caused the mishap.
The aircraft crashed near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina after the fuel tube ruptured, the first crash of any of the three F-35 variants since the first flight in 2006. The pilot ejected safely.
“An investigation determined a manufacturing defect caused an engine fuel tube to rupture during flight, resulting in a loss of power to the engine,” a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said. The tube was found to have come from a defective batch that were supplied to engine maker Pratt & Whitney, and these have since been replaced.
A second F-35, a Japanese Air Self Defense Force F-35A crashed with the loss of its pilot in April off the coast of Misawa AB in northern Japan. Some wreckage has been found, but the cause if yet to be determined.