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PMEL flexes TFCU muscles

By Master Sgt. Thomas Bowen | 1st Maintenance Squadron | Nov. 9, 2016


When the 1st Fighter Wing trains to prepare for Global Response Force taskings, people may hear aircraft launch from a mile away, but what they don’t typically hear or see are other components that get the jets in the air.


The 1st Maintenance Squadron’s Test Measurement and Diagnostic Flight performs some of the lesser heard maintenance support duties, specifically calibrating mission essential equipment and determining temperature points the equipment can be used in.


“Ensuring we’re ready to go means being vigilant in equipment readiness just as much as the aircraft,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Carolann Carr, 1st MXG Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory craftsman. 


During GRF missions, the flight uses a deployable calibration system, which they practice the use of during 1st Fighter Wing exercises.


The transportable field calibration unit, which is made of several hardened cases built for rapid deployment, is a miniature calibration laboratory that calibrates tools ranging from torque wrenches to signal generators and checks systems like in-flight oxygen masks.


While the TFCU is not used often, it is critical to ensure the capability stays ready.


“Being able to put a calibration capability into a wartime theater in a short time frame can be useful to streamline maintenance processes and logistics, ultimately energizing the maintenance machine,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Bowen, 1st MXG TMDE flight superintendent . “Readiness and availability of calibration support in a deployed location are vital to keeping maintenance moving.”


With new Airman and upgrades to the TCFU, since its last deployment in 2010, exercises enable the flight to train and identify gaps in logistics and areas that could be streamlined.


“Right now it might not be too much of an issue, but it could easily become one,” said Bowen of logistical issues. “Therefore, making sure the capability to rapidly deploy to a minimally built up location to support the maintenance mission of our Airmen is crucial to being at the tip of the spear.”


Whether the TMDE flight is providing quick support for deployments, or every day precision measurement for equipment, the flight practices readiness to prepare Airmen for success.   


The last time the TFCU was used for a real-world deployment was 2010 to 2011.  It augmented the combat Air Force’s only calibration Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility and enabled the rapid completion of 348 calibrations.  The quick support in turn maximized the equipment availability to the many work centers they serviced and ensured mission success.  

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