The Pentagon on Monday said it was shipping parts from an F-35 test plane back to their manufacturer, Honeywell International Inc, for a detailed inspection after a February 14 incident that caused a small amount of smoke in the plane's cockpit.
Kyra Hawn, spokeswoman for the $396 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, said an initial assessment of the incident at a Maryland air base showed it was isolated, software-related, and posed minimal risk. Interim changes had been implemented to prevent another smoke incident, she said.
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News of the previously unreported incident comes just days after U.S. military officials grounded the entire fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 jets for the second time this year after discovering a 0.6 inch crack on a fan blade in the single jet of another test plane.
Honeywell builds the plane's "power thermal management system," which uses a lithium-ion battery similar to those whose failures have grounded Boeing Co's entire fleet of 787 airliners, but Hawn said there was no connection between the February 14 incident and the F-35's lithium-ion batteries.
Honeywell said it would inspect the system - which manages the distribution of hot and cold air throughout the plane's fuselage - once it arrived at the company's Phoenix testing facility.
(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)