Luke PMEL: Small career field, big impact

From measuring the length of tracks for fitness tests to calibrating systems on the Air Force’s newest 5th generation fighter aircraft, the precision measurement equipment lab delivers precise calibration of the equipment used in virtually every phase of maintenance.

“The Luke PMEL services 107 work centers for the Air Force, its sister services and foreign allies,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Swanson, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment lab technician. “It is also one of the only PMELs that services the F-35 Lightning II.”

Staff Sgt. Jordan Barker, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment lab technician, calibrates a micrometer July 1, 2021, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. A micrometer is a gauge that can make extraordinarily precise measurements within 1/1000 of an inch. Exact measurements are necessary because imprecise calibrations of even the smallest of spaces between objects can lead to catastrophic malfunctions. PMEL technicians ensure accurately calibrated equipment to support the needs of the Air Force, sister services and allied forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Phyllis Jimenez)

PMEL specialists calibrate, weapon guidance systems, force gauges, pressure gauges, torque wrenches and any assets that take a quantitative measurement.

“We calibrate and repair a wide variety of equipment depending on what section we are working such as electronic, mechanical or physical dimensional,” said Airman 1st Class Nicholas Bruce, 56th CMS precision measurement equipment lab technician. “The equipment we work on varies from very simple to very complex.”

According to Swanson, PMEL is a small career field with low exposure to the base population, but have a sweeping impact.

“People start to understand PMEL when something isn’t calibrated correctly [and they need us],” said Swanson. “Improperly calibrated equipment can lead to anything from someone failing a PT test because they are running too long to a catastrophic event like a plane crashing.”

The Air Force uses a large array of equipment in its day-to-day operations that requires precise calibration. PMEL ensures accurate, safe and reliable equipment to support the needs of the U.S. military and its allied forces.

“PMEL is an all-encompassing career field with technical experts,” said Swanson. “We support every Air Force mission and get to work with some of the smartest enlisted that the Air Force has to offer.”

Airman 1st class Jasmin Torres, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment lab technician, calibrates a tire inflator kit July 1, 2021, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Maintainers use tire inflator kits to service tires on government vehicles as well as aircraft tires. PMEL technicians ensure accurately calibrated equipment to support the needs of the Air Force, sister services and allied forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Phyllis Jimenez)
Staff Sgt. Vicente Jimenez, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment lab technician, calibrates a spectrum analyzer July 1, 2021, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The spectrum analyzer is used to measure the power of a signal’s various frequency components. PMEL technicians ensure accurately calibrated equipment to support the needs of the Air Force, sister services and allied forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Phyllis Jimenez)

More Stories

Luke Airmen participate in 9/11...
By Aerotech News & Review
Bronze Star Medal awarded to...
By by Senior Airman David Busby
Luke Airmen deploy to JB...
By by Tech. Sgt. Amber Carter