The fault is the latest in a string of embarrassments for American and British militaries as well as the jet’s US-based manufacturer Lockheed Martin, RT reported Tuesday.
Britain confirmed the purchase of 14 F-35 war planes at a cost of £2.5 billion in the current year. While the total cost of each fighter jet is still unknown, estimates offered by the US Defense Department put the price tag as high as £150 million.
The newly discovered problem is the latest in a series of setbacks for the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF), which had originally expected the fifth generation fighters to be in service by 2012.
“The F-35 has a fuel temperature threshold and may not function properly if the fuel temperature is too high,” said Senior US Air Force pilot Jacob Hartman, as quoted in the report.
Boasted as one of the “premier fighters” in the world by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 is designed to use its own fuel as a coolant.
“The aircraft should be fine if the next war is in a cold climate – but since most of our enemies seem to be in the Middle East and Far East we may have a problem,” said a British Ministry of Defense source as cited in UK-based Daily Express.
The UK remains one of the world’s top military spenders, with an annual defense budget of nearly $60 billion. This is while the country’s economy has not recovered from the downturn that affected the entire Europe in the past years.
As a result, the government continues with unpopular austerity measures that have resulted in budget cuts in many public welfare programs.