February 26, 2013 - 09:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Pentagon said on Monday, Feb 25 an F-35 test plane was involved in an incident on February 14 that caused smoke in the cockpit, and it was sending the affected parts back to their manufacturer, Honeywell International Inc, for a detailed inspection, Reuters reported.
Kyra Hawn, spokeswoman for the $396 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, said an initial assessment of the incident at a Maryland air base showed it was isolated, software-related, and posed minimal risk. The Pentagon has made temporary changes to prevent another smoke incident, she said.
News of the previously unreported incident comes just days after U.S. military officials grounded the entire fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 jets for the second time this year after discovering a 0.6 inch crack on a fan blade in the single jet of another test plane.
A spokesman for enginemaker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, said the blade assembly arrived at the company's Middletown, Connecticut, facility on Sunday evening and engineering teams were examining it now.
Honeywell builds the plane's "power thermal management system," which uses a lithium-ion battery similar to those whose failures have grounded Boeing Co's entire fleet of 787 airliners, but Hawn said there was no connection between the February 14 incident and the F-35's lithium-ion batteries.
Honeywell said it would inspect the system, which manages the distribution of hot and cold air in the F-35 fuselage, once it arrived at the company's Phoenix testing facility.