Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is established in the western part of the Mojave Desert area of California, unlike most expectations. Whenever they run into this name, people automatically think it has something to do with China. In fact, China is among the multitude of countries where the United States of America don’t have any bases inside. The station is operated by the United States Navy and covers three different counties – Inyo, Kern and San Bernardino. The gate can be found in Ridgecrest, while the neighbors include a few other cities too.
NAWS China Lake is one of the most important military bases run by the US Navy. This is because it stores close to 85% of the land that was specifically acquired for research operations regarding armaments and weapons, not to mention about testing and evaluating. When it comes to the worldwide lands the US Navy has picked for these reasons, the site covers around 40% of it. It is split in three major parts – two different ranges and a main place for other buildings. They spread on about 4,500 square kilometers. If you take a second to think about it, this military base is larger than Rhode Island. Although the area is huge, only 5% of it is actually used. Most if it was left as-is to support the training missions.
The primary objective of NAWS China Lake is to support the United States Navy. However, since this military field is so varied, the base was built with a specific purpose – maintaining, testing and evaluating operations. At the same time, these experts are also involved in plenty of research operations.
NAWS China Lake was born in 1943, as the US Navy needed a new site to test new weapons and aviation techniques. On the other hand, the local Institute of Technology from California required a new site for rocket tests. This is how this place was picked. It was established in the autumn of 1943 with the role to pursue research operations, test and develop new weapons, but also to provide basic training lessons for these weapons. The first operations began a few weeks after the base was established. It was picked for the excellent climate, great visibility and wide area. All these factors were proven to be the successful keys in the process.
1963 was a great year for NAWS China Lake, as it was visited by president John F. Kennedy. The president actually joined to admire an air show. Over the years, the base has often been said to be a dangerous place for the surrounding human communities, not to mention about the noise. Things changed a little and these days, people see it as a good neighbor. The housing opportunities were reduced compared to the first years of the base. At the same time, the authorities found the perfect idea to make both the human communities and the base officials happy. The housing was attached to Ridgecrest about three decades ago. In time, people got to connect and adopt a healthy friendship.