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Luke PMEL Small Career Field, Big Impact

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Phyllis Jimenez
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – 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.”

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.”