Washington: A troubled US fleet of F-35A fighter jets which was grounded due to an engine issue has been given a limited approval to fly again, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.
The costly F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter was grounded after a June 23 engine fire.
"Yesterday the air worthiness authorities for the US Navy and US Air Force approved the F-35 fleet to return to flight," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
"This is a limited flight clearance that includes an engine inspection regimen and a restricted flight envelope which will remain in effect until the root cause of the June 23 engine mishap is identified and corrected," he said.
"We remain hopeful that the F-35 can make an appearance at the Farnborough airshow. This information is an encouraging step, but no final decision has been made at this time. Safety remains the overriding priority. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available," Kirby said.
By displaying F-35 at the Farnborough International Air Show, which is one of the world`s biggest aviation events of the year, the United States wants to target the potential buyers including Italy, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Israel, Norway, Japan, and the Netherlands.
Britain has committed to purchase 48 of these fighter jets. The entire of F-35 was grounded on July 3 after a fire broke out on engine of F-35A conventional Air Force model at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on June 23.
The fire was traced to excessive rubbing of fan blades in a section of the Pratt & Whitney-made F135 engine known as the integrally bladed rotor.