Israeli Air Force Grounds F-35 Planes


An Israel F-35 fighter jet. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Israeli Air Force will be grounding its F-35 stealth fighter jets for training exercises after information reached Israel from the U.S. that there is a technical flaw in the ejection mechanism of the pilot’s seat, IAF commander Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar decided.

The IDF put out a statement that the aircraft manufacturer had issued instructions for air forces using the planes to check and test the ejection seats.

At the end of a meeting at the weekend, Bar issued orders to carry out the requisite safety tests before the first flight. The tests will be conducted by IAF technical crews, and should be complete within the next several days.

Bar said that the tests “must be conducted carefully and thoroughly, so the force can be brought fully back on line, in accordance with a high standard of safety.

“The Israeli Air Force is part of the world forces that work with this type of aircraft and cooperates with its counterparts and the manufacturers to meet the most stringent standard, which is designed to ensure the safety of the air crew during training flights and operations,” Bar said.

The IDF said that any operations for which the F-35 planes would be required before the safety checks were completed would need to be approved by Bar.

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