When performing maintenance on essential military equipment, the precision and accuracy of the testing tool is crucial.
The Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory examines these testing tools regularly to ensure a set standard.
“PMEL is responsible for the accuracy of approximately 6,300 pieces of test equipment here at Luke Air Force Base,” said Tech. Sgt. Edward Moore, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron PMEL section chief. “The PMEL program had its formal establishment in the late 50’s after Air Force units noticed a dramatic increase in failed aircraft launches. An audit of the failed launches revealed errors such as inaccurate pressure gauges.”
The Air Force recognized the need to re-evaluate the calibration requirements for systems and in 1958, AF Regulation 74-2 was publicized. AFR 74-2 outlined policies and assigned responsibilities for managing the Air Force Metrology and Calibration (AFMETCAL) Program which included the official establishment of PMEL. It is AFMETCAL’s responsibility to ensure that PMEL organizations have the policies and tools necessary to do the job.
“In the past, test equipment was sent to the Dayton Air Force Depot to be calibrated,” Moore said. “But today, we have over 70 PMELs Air Force-wide specializing in different measurement capabilities.”
One of these PMELs is located here at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
“Luke’s PMEL shop is broken down into four sections” said Airman 1st Class Jordan Barker, 56th CMS PMEL technician. “They are; Electrical Standards Section, The Waveform Generation/Power Measurement Section, the Physical Dimensional Section and the Test Sets Section.”
Test equipment used for mission requirements is transferred from the operational side to one or more of these specialized sections for maintenance or recalibration.
Luke’s PMEL supports 107 different on-and-off base agencies in the continental U.S.
“There’s no room for error,” Moore said. “We are human and things happen, but we have checks and balances in place to ensure we are as close to perfect as humanly possible.”