Down to the Nitty Gritty

MIRA X, the world largest-known scanning electron microscope, has already saved the Air Force an estimated $70,000 since its arrival last September at the Oklahoma City ALC, at Tinker AFB, Okla., in discovering cracks and defects in aircraft engines and other components that could have led to more serious issues if undetected. And the system is projected to reap savings nearly of $1 million annually, plus having immeasurable value in helping to prevent aircraft mishaps. The $3 million microscope, acquired from Germany’s VisiTec Microtechnik, sits in a vacuum chamber 9 foot by10 foot by 12, It can examine objects 60 inches and larger with magnification up to 100,000 times and without having to cut the components up into smaller sections. (Tinker report by Brandice Armstrong)