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F-35 jet fire may be isolated problem

In this image courtesy of Lockheed Martin and released by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) shows an F-35B test aircraft BF-03 on December 3, 2012An engine fire last month on a US F-35 fighter jet was likely an isolated incident and not part of a wider problem for the new aircraft, a top Pentagon official said Thursday. The comments came as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel offered a ringing endorsement of the costly Joint Strike Fighter despite the latest technical setback that forced a halt of all F-35 flights. The F-35 has been billed by manufacturer Lockheed Martin as a technological leap forward that will evade radar and fly at supersonic speeds. Investigators have inspected the entire fleet of F-35 jets and have yet to pinpoint the cause of the June 23 fire that broke out on one plane during takeoff, said Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer.

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