Pentagon, Navy lift flight restrictions on F-35B jets-official

WASHINGTON Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:34pm GMT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon and the U.S. Navy have lifted flight restrictions on the Marine Corps version of the F-35 fighter jet, clearing the way for testing and training flights to resume after a nearly month-long grounding, according to Colonel Kevin Killea, who oversees aviation requirements for the Marine Corps.

Killea said the decision would allow officials to resume flight tests of the F-35B, the Marines' version of the new warplane being built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), but the Navy and the F-35 program office had more work ahead on resolving the manufacturing issues blamed for the grounding.

The Pentagon and Navy grounded all 25 F-35B jets on January 18 after a fuel line made by Stratoflex, a unit of Parker Hannifin Corp (PH.N), detached just before a training flight in Florida on January 16. It later said the issue stemmed from a manufacturing defect, not maintenance or design issues.

(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)