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DoD Official Discusses F-35 at Farnborough Air Show

American Forces Press Service // July 14, 2014

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 – Safety is the first consideration in whether the F-35 Thunderbolt II joint strike fighter appears at the Farnborough Air Show in England this week, a senior Defense Department official said today.

The F-35 fleet was grounded July 3 pending an investigation of an engine fire that occurred June 23 on the runway of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters at Farnborough that senior Air Force and Navy officers are assessing data to determine the root cause of the fire.

“Hopefully, they’ll be able to come to a conclusion and begin flying again, but we don't want to prejudge that,” he said. “We don’t want to get ahead of it, and we put safety first.”

Even with setbacks like the grounding, the F-35 program is a much more stable program than it was four years ago, Kendall said. “We’ve got a lot more confidence in the design today,” he added. “We have the costs much more under control than we did four years ago.”

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