High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
China Lake
Page 3
Naval Air Facility
     From Naval Ordnance Test Station to Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake has undergone changes in mission or the addition of missions.  Through it all the Naval Air Facility has maintained its mission of providing a place for aircraft to home plate while being used to test the various ordnance required by the Navy and some of the other services.  Providing a landing field and maintenance facilities  for visiting aircraft and administrative support for crews who come to train on newly developed weapons systems as well as providing a homeport for the resident test squadron(s) stationed here.  
For more information about VX-5 and the planes attached to the squadron for missile and armaments testing go to:
There are links provided to follow the progression of other experimental Squadrons assigned over the years.
It started in the 40's and was built from the ground up.  Aircraft have gone thru changes as well as the original scope and size of the Naval Air Facility.  Below is a picture taken in 1970 which illustrates the growth in just 25 years.
  The flying wings are not Naval aircraft.  They were Air Force and I believe they were flown out of Edwards AFB.  I saw many of these in flight while I lived on the desert and have always thought of them as really neat aircraft.  I am exercising a little literary privelege in showing them here.
A view of NAF taken in the 70's.  It has become quite a facility in support of a host squadron VX-5 who provide local aircraft and pilots for the continued testing of new weapons developed at China Lake.  VX-5 also provides assistance to visiting aircrews and aircraft in all of the various functions necessary to support them.  this includes administrative functions, aircrsft maintenence, training and familiarization and actual flight tactical implementation of weapons systems.
  During anopen house of the Naval Station one of the main parts of the show is the delivery of weapons by aircraft.  The Naval Air Facility provides a perfect venue for demonstrating these in real time and in safety for the observers.
  A VX-5 F4 loaded with bombs on the way!!!
  Aircraft serve many purposes beyond delivering weapons of destruction.  It is also necessary to do a little buddy fueling to prolong the mission time of a particular aircraft.  Sometimes this is done to assist aircraft awaiting landing on a carrier at sea.  Whatever the purpose training and actual mission completion depend on pilots knowing how to perform this function.
 
  The mission of a weapons delivery test squadron frequently take them to shipboard ops.  Here a VX-5 A4 is prepared for launch to perform an ordnance delivery test from actual shipboard conditions.
  Of course there are more modern aircraft involved in the testing effort today.  The a_10 Warthog, the F-15, Fa-18, F-22  and even more. On a wing tip we see the new more modern sidewinder installed.
 
New economical airborne weapons systems



 
Say you need economical weapons delivery.  Heres a really low cost model and its also repeatable without the cost of a special support system.  All test equipment is available for this model and the learning curve is very small.  Just feed, entertain, provide sleeping facilities and you have a first rate automated weapons delivery system.

  May need occasional trips to the O-Club for liberal lubrication and system tweaking.
 
Select a page number above
to move from page to page
Select a page number above
to move from page to page
. 1 & 2  -  In the beginning
   3        -  Naval Air Facility
   4        -  The Ranges
   5   -        Doc the B-29
   6   -       NAWC Museum
. 1 & 2  -  In the beginning
   3        -  Naval Air Facility
   4        -  The Ranges
   5   -        Doc the B-29
   6   -        NAWC Museum
USN mark 1 vers. 2.3 sub model A
USN Mark 2 ver. 5 Model C
  During times when an "O" -Club is not available an occasional bathing will do.  The Navy lovingly calls this a Steel Beach!!!
    7   -        The Sidewinder
    8    -      
Weather
  
9    -      60 Year FED service
   10  -      
China Lake named
                  National Historic site
|_1_|_2_|_3_|_4_|_5_|_6_|_7_|_8_|_9_|_10_|
|_1_|_2_|_3_|_4_|_5_|_6_|_7_|_8_|_9_|_10_|
    7   -        The Sidewinder
    8    -      
Weather
  
9    -      60 Year FED service
   10  -      
China Lake named
                  National Historic site
   Here is a good story from the early 1970's. The Blue Angels were  on the base for a show (it must have been Armed Forces day). My  buddies and I were dropped off at the main gate by our parents.  We took the bus to NAF for the show.
We always liked the  shows. Cool airplanes and big explosions were great for  teenagers. I had never been on an airplane and they were offering  15 minute rides on a trainer for $10. My friends helped me cough  up the money.
Mike Whiteman and Eddie Telles teased me that the  plane would crash. I don't remember the pilot's name but he was a  great guy.
We took off and went to circle back to the air  field. The radio didn't work and the backup wasn't much  better. The pilot told me that we would fly out to Inyokern  airport to call back into the tower.
We went to the Inyokern  airfield and landed. The pilot bought me some food and drink then  called the tower at NAF. We got back into the plane and flew in  after the airshow had started. The Blue Angels look more  impressive from the air than the ground!
Mike and Eddie about had a  heart attack and were wondering what to tell my parents when I didn't  show up after 15 minutes. Over 2 hours later I came back and we  all had a good laugh!
  Thanks to that pilot. He handled the situation well and I remember the event to this day.

Eddie Laroche