Redstone Report: Exact science key at USATA lab

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - When it comes to the U.S. Army Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment Activity Lab, also known as USATA, there is no room for error.

The lab performs calibration, metrology, and repair support for all Army equipment. In other words, they make sure everything is running smoothly.

There are over 60 labs in 12 countries around the world, but USATA's headquarters are on Redstone Arsenal. All results trace back to that lab for a final analysis.

Larry Tarr, the Director of the Army Primary Standards Lab, says the lab "calibrates the most accurate instruments and measurement standards used in the Army."

From hand held detection devices to high-tech weapon systems, the team has it all down to an exact science. If a weapon system was just a fraction of an inch off, soliders would essentially be shooting blind and would have a much greater chance of missing their target. James Johnson, the Executive Director of USATA, explains by saying, " We want to make sure, where you aim your weapon is aimed in the right place. You want to make sure if you're flying in a helicopter at a specific altitude, you want to make sure that's what it really is."

A recent accreditation only adds to the USATA team's credentials. When talking about the process, Tarr describes it as "a very intense review that lasts a whole week and is done by a team of 4 subject matter experts."

This is the 15th year the USATA lab has been accredited by the non-profit group American Association for Laboratory Accreditation. It's a voluntary process, but team leaders, like Johnson, say it's worth it for their customers, " Soliders, civilian organizations that we do work for, we want them to have confidence that the calibrations and metrology measurements that we make are the very best they can possibly be."

Copyright WAFF 2012. All Rights Reserved.