BRAC Boon: China Lake Builds Facilities for Additional Naval Weapons Testing
The US Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake in California’s Mojave Desert is benefiting from a recommendation by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission to consolidate naval weapons and armament research, development and testing at the facility.
The station, which is home to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), is already the center for Navy and Marine Corps airborne weapon system testing. Programs that have been developed at the facility include the Tomahawk cruise missile, the Joint Stand-Off Weapons System (JSOW), and the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM).
The BRAC recommendations would expand that role even further. To accommodate this, the station has undertaken about $167 million in new construction.
The biggest ticket item is a $55 million weapons and armaments technology center named for William B. McLean, who led the design and development of the Sidewinder missile. The 177,000-square-foot facility will provide for general engineering labs, modeling and simulation work, logistics, and conferencing. Barnhart, who won the construction contract, expects to complete the facility in fall 2010.
Soltek was awarded a $26 million weapons and armament facility that will house high-bay and small-bay laboratories to accommodate weapons test equipment development and testing that is currently performed at Point Mugu, CA, as well as fleet support currently being provided by the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, CA. This 75,000-square-foot facility is expected to be complete in the spring of 2011.
A $9 million, 12,000-square-foot weapons survivability complex is being built to perform live-fire system vulnerability test and evaluation for Air Force and Navy fixed-wing aircraft. The facility is expected to be complete in the summer of 2010.
The Naval Air Weapons Station is building a $19 million ordnance storage facility, which will include 9 magazines, 1 building for inert storage, 1 building for packing and crating, as well as roads and utilities to support the new facility. Soltek Pacific received the construction contract. Work is scheduled for completion in September 2010. Soltek also received an $8 million contract for a fuze test facility.
Earlier this year, Soltek received a $21 million contract from NAWCWD to build an Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) hardware-in-the-loop simulation facility. Raytheon is supplying a $31 million AMRAAM weapon simulator for the facility. Project completion is expected in September 2011. Hardware-in-the-loop capabilities will also be available for the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. The facility will include 2 large radio frequency, shielded anechoic chambers.
NAWCWD awarded a $17 million contract to Team Corp in Burlington, WA, to supply weapons dynamic test systems as part of the BRAC-directed effort to set up a $6 million Naval Integrated Weapons and Armament Research, Development and Acquisition, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Center at China Lake.
These test systems will provide NAWCWD with the capability to replicate the dynamic environment weapons are subjected to throughout their life cycle. The contract also includes system validation, testing and training. Work will be performed in Burlington and China Lake and is expected to be integrated into the new facility by Sept 15/11.
In addition, China Lake is building a $9 million, 20,000-square-foot in-service engineering sustainment and maintenance facility, which is expected to be complete by the summer of 2011.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Dec 15/09 for the Weapon Systems Center for Integration (WSCI). The $7 million, 23,000-square-foot facility will be the focal point for development and testing of weapons systems at NAWCWD
Below is a list of the BRAC-related construction projects, which total $167 million, taking place at China Lake:
- McLean Lab, $55 million;
- Weapons & Armaments Facility, $26 million;
- Hardware-in-the-Loop Facility, $21 million;
- Ordnance Storage Facilities, $19 million;
- In-service Engineering Facility, $9 million
- Fuze Test Facility, $8 million;
- Weapons Survivability Complex, $9 million;
- WSCI, $7 million;
- Weapons and Armament RDT&E Center, $6 million;
- 3 rehab projects, $4 million;
- Temporary facilities, $3 million.
BRAC recommended consolidating research, development, and testing of naval weapons at China Lake from the following facilities:
- Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, IN;
- Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head, MD;
- NAS Patuxent River, MD;
- Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, CA;
- Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, CA;
- Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, CA;
- Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, VA.
A previous version of this story, which ran Nov 24/09, contained an incomplete list of BRAC-related China Lake construction projects with outdated project values. Updated information was provided by NAWCWD’s Renee Hatcher.