According to a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report to congressional committees this week, "an investigation determined a manufacturing defect caused an engine fuel tube to rupture during flight, resulting in a loss of power to the engine," ONA reports cting Sputniknews.
"The program office reported that it identified 117 aircraft with the same type of fuel tubes that it must replace," the report adds.
The report identified "quality control and late radar deliveries as the top production risks in the program," noting that the contractor is collaborating with the supplier to resolve the issue "through improved production processes as the program approaches its full-rate production decision in October 2019."
The United States temporarily suspended all F-35 operations worldwide after the first-ever September 28, 2018, crash of the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, marking the first accident involving the American military's most advanced and expensive aircraft.
The pilot ejected safely and remains in stable condition, according to reports, and the crash caused no casualties.
The jets are manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp but the engines are manufactured by the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corp.
Pratt & Whitney spokesman John Thomas refused to comment on the GAO report findings, Bloomberg noted.