The world’s most advanced F-35 II Lightning fighter jet has just been grounded in the US Air Force (USAF), the Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC) as well. But, before this, a report about its faulty mechanism had been reported and pushed aside.

The issue around the ejection seats of the F-35 had been reported back in April when a routine maintenance inspection at Hill FB discovered an anomaly with one of the Seat Cartridge Actuated Device (CAD). According to a spokesperson for Martin-Baker, Steve Roberts, the issue was traced back to the gap in the manufacturing process, “which was addressed and changed.”

Lockheed Martin’s F-35s can reach the speed of Mach 1.6 (1,200 mph) and a P135-PW-100 — 40,000 lb Max; 25,000 lb Mil propulsion. This is a single-seat, single-engine aircraft with three versions for the US Navy, US Air Force, and similar versions for the US Marine Corps and the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

The F-35 is known for its advanced sensor package, which gathers information in real-time, giving pilots the ultimate advantage during flights.

Test flight of American F-35A Lightning. Eglin Air Force Base, United States (Source: US Air Force / Ministerie van Defensie / Wikimedia)

“Its tremendous processing power, open architecture, sophisticated sensors, information fusion and flexible communication links make the F-35 an indispensable tool in future homeland defense, joint and coalition irregular warfare, and major combat operations,” according to Military.

Aside from its technological features, the F-35 is the only known operational fighter jet with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities, making it a top asset for naval operations.

The initial report in April noted the investigators still couldn’t analyze the scale of the issue. However, when the US Air Combat Command (ACC) stepped in and conducted their inspection, they found an apparent problem with the seat ejection. Then, on July 19, within 15 days of ACC inspection, the ACC and Air Education and Training Command grounded their F-35s for a wide-scale investigation. They will proceed with their 90-day inspection in the coming months.

Around 2,700 ejection seat cartridges were inspected, and only three erratic ones were found. Martin-Baker has been cooperative during the inspection.