Welcome to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, high desert home of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, where the Navy and Marine Corps have developed or tested nearly every significant airborne weapon system in the past five decades. China Lake is located 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles on the western edge of California's Mojave Desert. China Lake is a very military friendly city with a high population of Retired Active Duty and DoD Civilians and has a average cost of living compared to the rest of the state of California. If you are arriving by air, you may fly from Los Angeles International Airport or Ontario International Airport. Shuttle service is available from the airport at a cost. The base operator's phone number is 760-939-9011, or DSN 312-437-9011.
The Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) was established on November 8, 1943. In October 1998, NAWS Point Mugu became Naval Air Station Point Mugu, and is no longer a part of the parent Weapons Division organization. More than 2,000 Weapons Division employees, however, continue to perform their same functions as tenants at Point Mugu. On October 1, 2001, the White Sands Detachment was transferred to the Naval Sea Systems Command, leaving China Lake and Point Mugu the only WD sites. NAVAIR WD personnel at China Lake are involved in programs that range from the Tomahawk Cruise Missile to the new Joint Stand-Off Weapons System (JSOW) and from the Joint Direct Attack Munitions to the new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. For more information please visit the installation homepage.
China Lake supports the primary research and development, test and evaluation work for air warfare and missile weapons systems. Missiles such as Sidewinder, Shrike and Walleye are just a few of the many products at China Lake, which have been developed for the fleet. The direction and focus have changed over the years, but the China Lake community remains active, interested and a vital part of the continued success of NAVAIR WD. In this era of Defense Department streamlining and downsizing, the China Lake site remains constant in our goal to be the Navy's premier full-spectrum laboratory for research, development, test and evaluation of weapons and aircraft weapons systems. China Lake continues to be an integral part of the new concept that will improve the ability of the Naval Aviation Systems Team to meet the needs of the Navy and the fleet well into the next century.
The Navy remains the Indian Wells Valley's largest employer with 3,141 full-time civilians, 861 military employees, 1,385 on-board contractors, and 923 off-site contractors. On any normal workday, 10,000 people pass through the gates.
Currently, there is no base transportation on this installation.
You may request a sponsor through your gaining unit. Your sponsor should contact you and your family by letter of introduction or e-mail and should send additional information about the installation. Your sponsor should be able to assist you in finding out answers to specific questions about your new duty station and should be available when you arrive to meet you, show you around, and help you through inprocessing. You may contact the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) at 760-939-4545 or DSN 312-437-4545 for further sponsorship information.
Contact the Consolidated Billeting Office at 800-576-9327 for government quarters. There are NO pets allowed in transient quarters. Within walking distance are: Commissary, Navy Exchange, Subway, Flying Bean Coffeehouse, Freedom Cafe, fitness center, golf course, pools, bowling alley, and AltaOne Credit Union. There are 11 Transient Family Quarters. Reservations are strongly recommended with a maximum stay limited to 30 days. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, the motels in Ridgecrest will provide you and your family an enjoyable, comfortable and affordable stay. Most are centrally located in Ridgecrest, convenient to shopping, restaurants, nightlife and sightseeing. You will be pleased with their friendly staff and excellent service. From their single guest rooms to their luxury suites, they guarantee excellent, sparkling clean accommodations. Most offer free internet access and swimming pools.
When you receive orders, your whole family may need to adjust to leaving friends and relatives behind, career challenges, and new places and cultures. Help for all aspects of your move is available from the Relocation staff at the China Lake FFSC. This program provides information on base activities and services, information packets on other military installations, orientations for new arrivals, Loan Closet items and much more. A Relocation Counselor is available to provide pre-move planning assistance, base and community information worldwide, and arrival and settling-in services. Relocation is a way of life for the military family. It is seldom easy, usually stressful, sometimes frightening, and always constant.
Critical Installation Information
Temperatures get extremely hot during the summer months, with a median temperature of 102.5 degrees or higher, from June through September. Temperatures increase if you are working at the airfield, so prepare yourself for a long, hot summer. It is essential to dress properly in order to withstand the sun and the extreme range of temperatures. Pets need water and a shady spot if they are left outdoors. Never leave small children or pets in a parked car. The temperature in a parked car can increase by 20 degrees in less than ten minutes, resulting in possible serious injury or death.