Originally put into use in 1943, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is operated by the United States Navy. China Lake is the single largest landholding of the United States Navy, and it is the home of approximately 85 percent of the Navy’s land for research, development, testing and evaluation of weapons and armaments.
All together, the main site at China Lake and its two ranges cover more than 1,100,000 acres, which is a land area that is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island. This makes up about 38 percent of all of the land holdings of the United States Navy in the world. Of this land, 19,600 square miles of airspace that is controlled and restricted provides a space for testing and training, and it takes up an entire 12 percent of all of the state of California’s total air space.
As the desert home of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake includes several tenant commands for its active duty service members and civilian employees. The Marine Aviation Detachment, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron NINE, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest Detachment and several other important tenant commands are also situated on Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
The area surrounding China Lake is relatively isolated and small. However, those who are stationed at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake can head to the city of Los Angeles if they are looking for things to do and see, since the city is only about 150 miles away from China Lake.
Because China Lake is a relatively small base with a small population, there are no schools on the base for dependent children who live on base to attend. However, students are served by the Sierra Sands United School District, which consists of seven elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools.
For parents who are interested in sending their dependent children to private schools, there are plenty of options available in the area near Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
Many people are surprised by the top-notch healthcare that is provided on China Lake, regardless of its small size. In fact, the healthcare that is offered at China Lake’s Branch Health Clinic and Branch Dental Clinic rivals some of the best in the state of California due to its caring staff, top-of-the-line facilities and excellent treatment.
Individuals who will be seeking temporary lodging upon their arrival at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake can find it at the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites. The Navy Gateway Inns and Suites provides 101 temporary lodging rooms that are distributed among ten different buildings. No pets are allowed in the transient quarters at China Lake, so pet owners are encouraged to find a nearby kennel or other arrangements for their pets.
All active duty military families are offered private, one-family housing units on China Lake. The on-base housing units have either three or four bedrooms; families who are interested in finding out about availability should contact the Housing Office for more information about settling into their new housing.
Last Updated: February 12, 2015