KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
No matter how big or small the base, power outages are a risk that all Air Force bases must prepare for. That’s why the 173rd Fighter Wing Electrical Power Production shop maintains and regularly tests a set of 12 mobile and fixed generators around the base, and they recently were upgraded.
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael McCormick, 173rd Electrical Power Pro superintendent, organized the ARCWERX purchase with Staff Sgt. Joshua Lewis, 173rd Aircraft Arresting Systems NCOIC, through contacts in the 550th Fighter Squadron.
ARCWEX is a new program underneath the umbrella of the U.S. Air Force AFWERX accelerator program designed to fund innovative ideas and allow Airmen to have an influence to promote practical changes.
McCormick said that working with the old equipment was proving to be a challenge.
“The old one here has zero digital capabilities,” said McCormick, explaining that the lack of measurements forced the shop to use reference values to replace actual metrics to describe generator performance.
With the new load bank, the shop will be able to accurately monitor the performance of the equipment on base. It will also be much smaller than the old trailer unit, only the size of a suitcase.
“Since the shop performs additional duties such as barrier maintenance, we need to be able to quickly pivot to other tasks,” said McCormick, explaining that the ability to pack up the load bank tester and put it in the back of a car or truck provides security because the equipment won’t be left out.
Another challenge presented was maintaining such an old test unit. McCormick said finding replacement parts that are more and more scarce as time goes on. “This won’t be a problem with the suitcase tester,” he added.
The current trailer-based load tester will also be replaced by a newer model to allow the shop to continue to test the largest generator on base.
According to Lewis, the new equipment will save valuable man-hours and dollars for the base, providing a benefit to Kingsley Field and the greater Air National Guard.
McCormick said he was happy with the new acquisition. “It’s all mission essential,” he said, “It's great to be a part of an important part of the mission thats not always visible, but when it's needed we’re here to get the job done.”