THE US AIR Force's sole E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS) aircraft remains on "precautionary stand-down" as Northrop Grumman and US Air Force maintenance personnel correct fume and rivet problems.

Fumes were noticed in the E-8C during a standard engine run and a training flight. The USAF is trying to determine their source. The aircraft has been grounded for a month. It was also discovered that the wrong rivets were used in some places during modification.

The E-8C was ferried to the Northrop Grumman plant in Melbourne, Florida, where the corrective work is under way. The US defence contractor, which developed the aircraft, will make all necessary repairs at its own expense.

The USAF is unable to say when the aircraft will be returned to operational status. It adds, however, that no long-range impact to the J-STARS mission is expected.

Source: Flight International