Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields:
Space and Naval Warfare Systems
Command, San Diego
- Old Town Campus
(Air Force Plant 19)
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is headquartered
in really old buildings with the sawtooth roofs known as Air
Force Plant 19 near Old Town and the airport. These are the same
buildings where Convair used to routinely push B-24 bombers out
the door to help win World War II.
The Navys Space and Naval Warfare
Systems Command (SPAWAR) officially complete its move and transition
from the Washington, DC area and opened its San Diego headquarters
in a special Transition Ceremony on 01 October 1997. The ceremony
was held in front of the newly renovated SPAWAR headquarters
building (Building #4) in Old Town, located at 4301 Pacific Highway
(formerly the old Air Force Plant 19 complex).
The The Space and Naval Warfare Systems
Center was formerly known as the Naval Command, Control and Ocean
Surveillance Center (NCCOSC) RDT&E Division (or NRaD). It
is a full-spectrum RDT&E laboratory serving the Navy, Marine
Corps, and other Department of Defense and national sponsors
within its mission, leadership assignments, and prescribed functions.
It has facilities for conducting RDT&E and life-cycle support
functions in C4ISR. These laboratories offer worldwide networking
capabilities plus the ability to participate in major joint exercises.
In San Diego, the center occupies more than 580 acres. Facilities
are concentrated in four major areas: Topside, Bayside, Seaside,
and Old Town. Extensive in-service engineering facilities, located
nearby on the Old Town Campus, provide a full range of systems
engineering, management, logistics, installation, and technical
The relocation of SPAWARs headquarters
from Crystal City, in the Washington, DC area, to San Diego came
about as a result of a 1995 Base Closure and Realignment Commission
(BRAC) decision. The move of the SPAWAR headquarters staff and
an associated program executive office staff, which began in
April of 1996, resulted in the establishment of more than 1,000
new jobs in San Diego.
SPAWAR directs the development, acquisition,
and life cycle management of command, control, communications,
computers, intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR)
systems for Navy, Marine Corps, selected joint service, allied
nation and other government agency programs. The SPAWAR "corporation,"
which consists of the headquarters staff, a program executive
office and three major Systems Centers in San Diego; Charleston,
South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia, includes more than 5,000
engineers and scientists, computer specialists, contract professionals,
project managers, equipment installers, technicians and administrative
Air Force Plant 19 is northeast of San
Diego, CA. It covers 2,850 acres (the government owns only 2%)
and 6.3 million square feet of floor space (the government owns
Operated by General Dynamics, the plant
had a high bay area for aircraft assembly and specially configured
areas for Atlas/Centaur tank assembly. Construction of AFP 19
began November 1940, and the plant opened in 1941. It was built
as an assembly plant for the B-24 Liberator bomber, to augment
primary design and assembly at the Lindbergh Field Plant. Employment
at the plant peaked at 45,000 in 1942. At the end of World War
II the plant was sold as surplus. In 1957 the government reacquired
the plant and constructed four support buildings for Atlas missile
manufacturing and assembly. It also supported Atlas/Centaur and
Shuttle/Centaur tanks and Atlas refurbishment.
During the 1980s the plant performed fabrication,
minor assembly, and subassembly work for the Ground Launched
Tomahawk Cruise Missile, Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL),
and Launcher Control Center. On July 1, 1988, 50 inspectors from
the Soviet Union arrived at Travis Air Force Base, California,
to conduct inspections at: the former GLCM production facility
at Air Force Plant 19 in San Diego, California; the GLCM training
site at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; the GLCM training
site at Fort Huachuca, Arizona; the Missile Storage Depot at
Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, and the Pueblo Army Depot in Colorado.
The Naval Electronics Systems Engineering
Command (NAVELEX) was located at the US Air Force Plant Pacific
Highway, San Diego [Plant 19], operated by General Dynamics Corporation.
On November 14 and 15, 1985, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency inspected NAVELEX Air Force Plant 19. EPA found that seven
in-service transformers situated in Building 1 were leaking and
that floor areas were contaminated with PCBs. Violations of the
regulations were found by EPA at Air Force Plant 19, including
leakage from, and contamination by, in-service electrical transformers.
The Naval Electronics Systems Engineering
Center Vallejo, CA was consolidated with the Naval Electronics
Systems Engineering Center San Diego, CA, into available space
in Air Force Plant #19, San Diego, vice new construction.
The Naval Command, Control and Ocean Surveillance
Center (NCCOSC) RDT&E Division (or NRaD) is a full-spectrum
RDT&E laboratory. NCCOSC's West Coast In-Service Engineering
Division (NISE West) was located a Air Force Plant 19. On 2 January
1992, the Navy established the Naval Command, Control and Ocean
Surveillance Center (NCCOSC) as one of four major warfare centers.
NRaD was the RDT&E Division of the NCCOSC command. Early
in 1996, NCCOSC's West Coast In-Service Engineering Division
(NISE West) merged with NRaD, adding direct fleet support and
in-service engineering to the full-spectrum of capabilities offered
customers. NRaD is scheduled to become the Space and Naval Warfare
Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center San Diego on 1 October
In 1996 the plant was transferred to the
Navy, where it continued production under the Command, Control,
and Ocean Surveillance Center.
Review of San Diego County assessor's
records on June 7, 1993 revealed that 75.444 acres at the Air
Force Plant #19 site are currently under Department of Navy control
and 2.77 acres have been sub-divided with several private owners.
Mr. Phelps of the Naval Facilities Engineering
Command confirmed that 75.444 acres are under current Department
of the Navy control and 2.77 acres are privately owned. Based
on information obtained from the Naval Facilities Engineering
Command site file, the history of the subject property is as
follows. In 1933, Consolidated Aircraft signed a long term lease
with the city of San Diego for use of a portion of Lindbergh
Field. In October 1935, Reuben H. Fleet dedicated a manufacturing
plant on the west side of Pacific Highway that housed Fleet's
Consolidated Aircraft Corporation which relocated from Buffalo,
New York. Sometime later the subject property (Air Force Plant
#19) located on the east side of Pacific Highway was acquired
by the Air Force. U.S. Government acquired fee title to property
and the Air Force Plant #19 was constructed in 1940-1941 to build
various types of aircraft in support of B-24 Wing production.
In 1943, Consolidated Aircraft merged with Vultee Aircraft and
became Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation (Convair).
After WWII, in 1947, Air Force Plant #19
was sold to Mr. C.W. Carlstrom by the War Assets Administration.
The property was utilized as an industrial complex during this
period of time. The facilities were conveyed to General Dynamics
Corporation and leased to the government. The plant was used
throughout the Korean war under contract to the Air Force for
aircraft production. An aerial photograph of the plant taken
in 1952 showed the current pedestrian bridge. In 1953, the Air
Force condemned the property. The plant was thus reacquired by
the Air Force and operated by General Dynamics for aircraft production.
The plant was under fee ownership of the United States of America
and under direct control of the Department of Defense, Wright
Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The plant was transferred to
the Department of the Navy in late 1992 and is currently operated
by General Dynamics for the Naval Command, Control, and Ocean
The disposal property consisting of 2.77 acres is a tract of
land located between Rosecrans Street/Riley Street and Moore
Street/Interstate 5. This area is no longer under Department
of Defense control and has been beneficially developed commercially
since government disposal. All buildings and improvements are
being beneficially used by the current owners.