Australia to purchase grounded US fighter jets

Australia will go ahead with purchasing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from the United States, despite the jets being grounded by the Pentagon due to a cracked engine blade.

The US suspended all flights operated by the fleet of 51 jets to investigate the the turbine blade crack.

A 2009 Australian Defence White Paper found that a fleet of up to 100 of the jets would be needed, but only two have been purchased so far.

Ms Gillard said the purchase would still go through, despite the grounding of the jets.

"We'll continue to monitor and be in discussions about issues that have arisen and need to be addressed in the performance of the joint strike fighter," she told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

"But we do have the agreement to purchase two and we will go ahead with that purchase."

She said her government won't allow a gap to arise in the nation's air warfare capabilities.

-AAP

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