Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake is the United States Navy's primary test, evaluation and training facility for airborne weapons systems. The main base is located just north of Ridgecrest, CA. But the entire test and training range includes a total of 1.1 million acres or over 1,700 square miles. The range is divided into two ranges of roughly equal size by Hwy 178, referred to as the North Range and the South Range. The main base, shown in the photos below, is located at the south end of the North Range. Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 (VX-9, Vampires) and 31 (VX-31 Dust Devils) call China Lake home.
China Lake is sometimes referred to as the Navy's Area 51. It is a test and proving ground for new developments, technologies and employment strategies. In fact the base has ties to both Area 51 and TTR. There are semi-regular shuttle flights for personnel between these bases. And similar to the NTTR surrounding TTR and Area 51, the vast ranges surrounding the China Lake base are filled with all sorts of electronics gear for testing and simulation of ground threats. China Lake even has its own RCS range for test and development of stealth aircraft, called the Junction Ranch RCS Range.
The photos below were taken by our reconnaissance pilot Gabe Zeifman on Sunday May 24, 2020. Image editing and panoramas by Gary "The Skunk". Publication on Dreamland Resort with friendly permission.
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake - by Military Installations
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake - Wikipedia