Never in the field of military flying has one plane been dogged by so many setbacks. For the UK this month was supposed to be a landmark in military flying with first the official naming of the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and then the Royal International Air Tattoo debut of the plane that’s supposed to be flying off it – the F-35B Lightning II.
Alas, unless a miracle can be pulled off the F-35B (which was supposed to have performed a fly-by over the naming ceremony of the carrier) will not be flying. The entire fleet of nearly 100 F-35s of all marks have been grounded following an engine fire on a USAF F-35A. The US Defense Department will not free the aircraft to fly again until a thorough inspection of the F-35’s F135 engine which caught fire during a test in June.