Smoke is seen rising from the crash of an F-35B aircraft late last month. Photo: @SamRichardsonAM Twitter

The entire global fleet of US F-35 fighter jets has been grounded, the Pentagon said on Thursday morning, pending a fleet-wide inspection of engines in the wake of an F-35B crash last month.

“The action to perform the inspection is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina, on 28 September,” according to a statement from the F-35 Joint Program Office, posted by US Naval Institute News.

“The aircraft mishap board is continuing its work and the US Marine Corps will provide additional information when it becomes available.”

The inspections will look at possible defects in fuel tubes in the engines and are expected to be completed within the next several days.

The F-35B crash in South Carolina was the first ever such accident involving an F-35 variant.

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