NAWS China LakeCommunity

Fast Facts

Location: China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station is the high desert home of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. China Lake is located 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles on the western edge of California’s Mojave Desert. For more information please visit the installation homepage

BRAC Status: Increase of nearly 2,500 civilian personnel.

Cost of Living: Near the U.S. National Average

Base Operator: 760-939-9011, or DSN 312-437-9011


  • 861 military employees
  • 3,141 full-time civilians
  • 1,385 on-board contractors, and 923 off-site contractors

Area Population:  27,000 in the nearby town of Ridgecrest, CA.

Child Care:  Child and Youth Programs provide Child Development and recreational services for children 6 weeks to 18 years of age. The Child Development Center provides full and part day care for children 6 weeks to Kindergarten.  The School Age Center provides before and after school care and Day Camp experiences for children Kindergarten thru Fifth grade.  Castle X, the teen center, provides activities and special events for teens sixth grade to age 18.

Schools: China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station is served by the Sierra Sands United School District. The district currently has 7 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 2 high schools.  A number of private schools are also available.

Youth Services:  The Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department at China Lake is an active, on going program that keeps the military children busy and involved.

Fleet and Family Support Center: FFSC 760-939-4545, DSN 312-437-4545

Housing: Housing is available to all to active duty military families. All homes are single family, 3-4 bedroom units. Call the Navy Family Housing Office, at 760-939-4450, for availability.

Employment: China Lake employs over 3,000 civilians. Unemployment Rate 5.3%.  Median Household Income range $48,384 – $65,543.

Base Services: 

Medical Services:  Branch Health Clinic, 760-939-8000. and Branch Dental Clinic 760-939-8040. Although the China Lake/Ridgecrest area is small and isolated, the area offers some of the best medical staff, treatment, and facilities in California.

Special Message from this Installation: Temperatures get extremely hot during the summer months, with a median temperature of 102.5 degrees or higher, from June through September. is essential to dress properly in order to withstand the sun and the extreme range of temperatures.

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