Israel grounds F-35s over pilot ejection seat concerns

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FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Israeli Air Force announced a temporary halt in its stealth fighter F-35 aircraft activity on Saturday, following U.S. concerns over defects in pilot ejection systems.

Aircraft will undergo inspections that will last a few days, the Israeli Air Force said on Twitter, and any individual F-35 operations will be conducted by special authorisation of the air force chief.

The Israeli announcement followed a U.S. notice on Friday of possible defects in the explosive cartridges in pilot ejection systems aboard three U.S. military aircraft, including the F-35, which forced a temporary halt to some U.S. operations.

Manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp, the F-35 is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter and, in Israel, by its Hebrew name "Adir" (Mighty).

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; editing by David Evans)

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