Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Naval Air Weapons Station, Point Mugu
(Antiaircraft Training Center, Pt Mugu; Naval Air Station, Point Mugu;Naval Air Missile Test Center; Pacific Missile Range, Naval Missile Center; Pacific Missile Test Center; Channel Islands Air National Guard Base)
Naval Air Weapons Station, Point Mugu
by globalsecurity.com

The Naval Air Weapons Station, Point Mugu, operates and maintains station facilities and provides support services for Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division and assigned tenants and activities. These services include air terminal, air traffic control, firefighting and crash crews, and an outlying landing facility at San Nicolas Island.

Point Mugu is part of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWPNS), the Navy's full spectrum research, development, test evaluation, and in-service engineering center for weapons systems associated with air warfare (except for anti-submarine warfare systems), missiles and missile subsystems, aircraft weapons integration and assigned airborne electronic warfare systems. NAWCWPNS also maintains and operates the air, land, and sea Naval Western Test Range Complex (NWTRC).

The Weapons Division includes the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS), Point Mugu, California, the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, California, and the Ordnance Missile Test Station (NOMTS), White Sands, New Mexico. NAWCWPNS integrates the activities of these organizations, thereby providing an expanded capability for research, development, test evaluation and support throughout the life cycle of Department of Defense weapons and aircraft weapons systems. Additionally, NAWCWPNS organizations also contribute to naval surface missile systems and tactical as well as strategic deterrent weapons, and supports various Department of Defense and other governmental agencies for special projects.

As a result of realignment actions taken in 2000, the base is now part of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), a consolidated organization that includes the former Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme and Naval Air Station, Point Mugu. The Point Mugu installation commander now reports through a consolidated regional organization rather than through NAVAIR channels. The change in chain of command for the installation was due to movement of the E-2 wing to NBVC from NAS Miramar; under the CINC Pacific Fleet/COMNAVAIRPAC organization all installations are now under regional commanders who report to the CINC. The T&E range organization remains under NAVAIRSYSCOM. Because of this and earlier realignment actions, this installation no longer hosts the RAC function. A Command Airspace Liaison Officer (CALO) serves at Pt. Mugu, subordinate (in that function) to the RAC at China Lake.

The main base complex, located at Point Mugu, consist of 4,500 acres, support facilities and instrumentation. The main base complex includes the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) and Laguna Peak. Three runways are maintained by NAWS Point Mugu to support Range User operations. The primary runway at the main base is 11,000 feet by 200 feet. The secondary runway is 5,500 feet by 200 feet. A third runway, at SNI, is 10,000 feet by 200 feet. All runways are lighted and equipped with arresting gear and have ground control approach Instrumented Landing Systems (ILS). Aircraft parking with tie down capability is also available. The runways and taxiways will safely handle most operational models of military aircraft.

Point Mugu is located on the California coast, approximately 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. As a result of its location, its interaction with civil air traffic and its exposure to non-aviation mission constraints and influences are complex and occasionally confrontational. Some of these influences arise from the rapid growth in the surrounding communities. Others arise from the intense environmental activism, both governmental and non-governmental, which characterizes the coastal areas of California. In at least some cases, aviation pressure is being applied on offshore airspace by environmental activists who are attempting to displace civil aircraft operations from close onshore airspace so as to reduce perceived aircraft noise and other effects at both populated and unpopulated seashore areas. Much of this highly publicized activism is directed specifically at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and is driven by residents of the coastal communities adjacent to Los Angeles. A recent FAA study indicated that displacing LAX departures five miles offshore could increase air carrier costs as much as $56 million/year. Previous studies had suggested a much lower economic impact.


Channel Islands ANG Base

The 146th Airlift Wing (AW) of the California Air National Guard occupies 206 acres of fee-owned land adjacent to the Point Mugu Naval Air Station, an active duty Navy flying installation. The Channel Islands ANG Base is located 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles in Port Hueneme, California. The mission of the 146th AW is to provide global military airlift capability to a full spectrum of state and federal agencies. The unit currently flies the C-130 Hercules. The 146th AW occupies two administrative, nine industrial, and four services buildings totaling approximately 345,191 square feet with 354 full-time personnel. A unit training drill is conducted once a month and results in a surge of up to a total of 1,204 personnel.

In December 1988, after more than six decades of Air National Guard flying tradition in the San Fernando Valley, the 146th Airlift Wing began moving from Van Nuys ANGB to a brand new facility, built on Federal land leased to the State of California, adjacent to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, an active duty Navy flying installation. Located in Ventura County near the cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme, Channel Islands Air National Guard Station was constructed at a cost of more than $90 million dollars, and is widely recognized as one of the newest and best flying facilities in the Air National Guard. The buildings, hangars, flightline, and grounds feature state-of-the-art design and construction. The 146th operates from the military airfield at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, along with Navy and other Federal aviation activities.

By March 1990, all but a small remnant of wing personnel had transferred operations to Channel Islands ANG Base. Shortly thereafter, the old Van Nuys facility was closed and turned over to the City of Los Angeles. On April 30, 1990, the flag at Van Nuys ANG Base was lowered for the last time during a special ceremony. Years before, the Army Air Corps set a world flight endurance record of 150 hrs, 40 mins, 14 sec. at at Van Nuys. A Fokker C-2A named the Question Mark took off from Metropolitan Airport at Van Nuys, Cal. on Jan. 1, 1929, circled over southern california while being refueled 42 times (9 at night), and landed on Jan. 7 when one of its engines failed.


Point Mugu

Mugu beach is believed to be the site where Juan Cabrillo landed on October 10, 1542. "Muwu" was the capital village of the Chumash Indians located along the shores of Mugu Lagoon. Most of its early history centers around ranching, farming, and the famous Mugu fish camp.

The history of most of the Navy's Guided Missile and Drone programs is the early history of the Navy at Point Mugu. During World War II, the Navy simultaneously had efforts underway to develop sites where both missiles and pilotless aircraft could be tested. In 1947, Congress appropriated funding to establish a permanent Navy presence here for this purpose. Since the mid-1940's, Point Mugu has had several "Center Names", all with the mission to develop, test, and evaluate missiles and related systems, and for drones to use in naval test programs. Oct 1, 1946 - U.S. Naval Air Missile Test Center Aug 1, 1949 - Naval Air Station Jun 16, 1958 - Pacific Missile Range Jan 7, 1959 - Naval Missile Center Apr 26, 1975 - Pacific Missile Test Center Jan 21, 1992 - Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division and Naval Air Weapons Station

Missiles such as Oriole, Lark, Gorgon, Regulus, and many others have been developed and tested at Point Mugu. Many roads aboard the base bear these names. A park on Navalair Road proudly displays many of the contributions and developments for which Point Mugu has received world-wide acclaim.

In January 1992, the Pacific Missile Test Center was disestablished and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division was formed, which aligned technical functions with those of the former Naval Air Weapons Center China Lake, California. At the same time the Naval Air Station Point Mugu was disestablished and the Naval Air Weapons Station was commissioned. Today, with a combined military/civilian/contractor team effort, the Point Mugu Naval complex continues to provide development and testing of weapons that work.

As a national leader for over 35 years, the Radar Reflectivity Laboratory at Point Mugu remains in the forefront of radar cross-section (RCS) measurements and radar signature control technology. The facility provides monostatic and bistatic radar signature characterization and diagnostics of test objects. The application of wide-band RCS data to Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging of complex objects was pioneered at the laboratory in the 1970s, and is used to conduct signature diagnostics for a variety of applications. The two large anechoic chambers are equipped with compact-range collimating reflectors which provide far-field measurement conditions. The Bistatic Anechoic Chamber is the only facility of its kind in the world to provide full 180-degree horizontal and 90-degree vertical bistatic RCS measurements. All chambers can accommodate a wide variety of test items including tactical airborne missiles. Point Mugu collection facilities include instrumentation located at the main base and Laguna Peak. They provide real-time reception, recording and relay of telemetry data. In addition, best telemetry source selection is performed at Point Mugu. The Point Mugu telemetry system uses four GKR-11 and two GKR-13 antennas for primary operational support. The GKR-11 antennas are located near the Telemetry Collection Facility. The GKR-13 antennas are located on Laguna Peak and remote-controlled from the TCF at Point Mugu. The antennas operate in multiple modes, and a computer bus system, (Sensor Positioning and Readback System (SPARS)), generates look angles for automatic acquisition and re-acquisition using sensor inputs from other telemetry and radar systems.

On 02 June 1998 Duncan Holaday, deputy assistant secretary of Navy (Installation and Facilities) signed a record of decision to bring, over time, four E-2C "Hawkeye" squadrons with a total of 16 aircraft, 990 military and civilian personnel and 290 family members assigned to Airborne Early Warning Wing, Pacific, to Naval Air Weapons Station Point Mugu. They started moving in July 1998. Tactical training opportunities and enhanced Battle Group interoperability and use of overwater ranges were leading factors in the choice of NAWS Point Mugu as the preferred alternative. The four E-2C squadrons - Airborne Early Warning Squadron One One Two (VAW-112) known as the Golden Hawks; VAW-113, Black Eagles; VAW-116, Sun Kings; and VAW-117, Night Hawks - were previously based at MCAS Miramar, CA.

VAW-117, the last Navy squadron to depart MCAS Miramar, CA, brought to a close a chapter in Naval Aviation history. Following its WESTPAC deployment aboard Carl Vinson (CVN 70), VAW-117 returned to its new home port at NAS Point Mugu, CA.

The Navy estimated that initial construction costs necessary for this move totaled $28.6 million. The funds were used for constructing or upgrading the required hangars, flight line and other support facilities, as well as a fitness center and child development center. The cost of the relocation of commander, Airborne Early Warning Wing, Pacific and the four E-2C squadrons will be approximately $4 million. This figure included the relocation of personnel and their families as well as moving staff equipment and property. A contract for $14.5 million was awarded for building renovations at NAWS Point Mugu. A second contract worth $22 million was spent on construction of a flight simulator, which was finished by the year 2000. The Hawkeye squadrons were temporarily based in Point Mugu's Hangar 34 and in trailers.

Point Mugu is located in warm and sunny Southern California with the Pacific Ocean on one side and farmland, mountains, and metropolitan areas on the other. The base is less than one hour away from several cities. To the Northeast is Camarillo-15 minutes away. To the Southeast are Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Agoura, and Newbury Park - all within 25 minutes driving time. To the Northwest are Port Hueneme-10 minutes, Oxnard-15 minutes, Ventura-25 minutes, and Santa Barbara-60 minutes away. To the South are Malibu and Santa Monica, both within a 60 minute scenic drive along the beautiful Pacific Ocean down the Coast Highway.

Point Mugu is situated approximately 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles and right on the beach near the cities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme, and Camarillo. It is ideally located north of Malibu on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1). There is no public transportation between these cities and Point Mugu. Only taxi and that can be expensive (minimum of $15).

The Sea Range Operational Area is comprised of the main base complex at Point Mugu which includes the Laguna Peak complex, the offshore islands (with key instrumentation located on SNI and SCI) and the adjacent 36,000 square nautical miles of controlled operational air space.

The surface launching and ordnance facilities at Point Mugu support operations on the Sea Range. A combination of launch pads, blockhouses, ordnance assembly buildings and magazines exist at Point Mugu on the west side of the complex.

The surface launching complex at Point Mugu consists of the main launch area and blockhouse, the BRAVO launching area and blockhouse, and the CHARLIE launching complex and blockhouse.

The Main Complex is the primary launching complex at Point Mugu. The launching complex consists of eight interconnected launch pads (five 20' x 30' and three 20' x 54') located on the reinforced concrete roof. The total size is 125' x 346'. Four of the launch pads are dedicated to the BQM-34S target drones. The other four pads are dedicated to the BQM-74E target drones. Each launch pad is equipped with a special railtype launcher and overhead hoist.

Four control rooms, a launch distribution center, mechanical and electrical support shops, office spaces, restrooms, a cable terminal room and storage rooms are in the Main Complex, under the launch pads. Two GOW-5A Launch Sequencers service all eight pads from a single consolidated launch control room. A Hazard Area Control System consisting of ten railroad crossing-type gates, prevents inadvertent entry into the hazard area during an operation. Two other control rooms are configured for target control with a fourth control room dedicated to special launch programs.

All four control rooms are 14' x 25' and are equipped with blast resistant windows, water deluge and fire monitor control stations, a Hazard Area Surveillance Close Circuit Television (CCTV) monitoring system and various electronic equipment. Personnel in these control rooms are protected by 24" of reinforced concrete plus a 1/2" thick steel plate.

The BRAVO Launching Complex at Point Mugu is located on Beach Road. The complex consists of a blockhouse and two launch pads. This facility is unoccupied and available for installation of Range User owned launch equipment. The launch pads are identical, reinforced 100' x 100' concrete pads.

The blockhouse is equipped with blast resistant windows and mirrors. The floor size of 13' x 27' will comfortably house launch equipment and six personnel. The blockhouse is constructed with 18" reinforced concrete walls with earth fill. The overhead consists of 24" of reinforced concrete with a 1/2" thick steel plate and earth fill. The launch complex has been used in the past to launch the TOMAHAWK, HARPOON and Japanese Defense Force SSM-1 missiles.

The CHARLIE Complex at Point Mugu is also located on Beach Road. The complex consists of a blockhouse with a GOW-5 Launch Sequencer and three pads. One pad is a 100' x 127' asphaltic concrete apron and two are 51' x 58' concrete pads. A universal railtype launcher, remotely trainable, with a capacity of 4000 pounds, is located on the largest pad. This launcher was formerly used to launch meteorological rockets and the surface launched version of the AMRAAM missile. The other pads are currently unoccupied.

The blockhouse, constructed of reinforced concrete, can control launches from all three pads. The blockhouse is equipped with a Hazard Area Surveillance CCTV System, a Hazard Area Control System and various electronic equipment. It consists of a control room, an anteroom and power room. The rectangular control room is approximately 15' x 22' with an anteroom of about 275 square feet. These rooms can accommodate 10 personnel. The blockhouse is constructed of 18" reinforced concrete sides and roof in the control area and 6" reinforced concrete structuring in the anteroom area. There is earth fill over both rooms with natural earth slopes on the sides.

The other two pads are situated on a hill overlooking the beach and have become a popular choice for non-launch radar tracking operations. Mobile units are set up to practice tracking targets of opportunity.

Copies with permission from globalsecurity.org


NAS Point Mugu
by Justin Ruhge
After World War II the Navy concentrated all Bureau of Aeronautics activities in the field of pilotless aircraft on the west coast. By December 1945 the Pilotless Aircraft Unit was operational but the personnel were transferred from the Pilotless Aircraft Unit at MCAS Mojave to Naval Air Facility, Point Mugu. This Unit was placed under the command of Captain A. Scoles, USN.
The Seabees from Port Hueneme built the Naval Air Facility at the southern tip of the mouth of the Santa Clara River. Plans called for a complement of 176 officers, 764 enlisted men, and 1,000 civilian employees by 1948. A favorable over-water range of 100 miles was supported by a string of islands from which to closely observe and plot the flight paths of test missiles and aircraft. Late in 1948, the test range was renamed The Naval Air Missile Test Center, Point Mugu.

Point Mugu is one of four test ranges in the United States with an over-water range. Its Pacific Missile Range, authorized in 1957, was extended in January 1959 to 250 nautical miles and then to 1,500 miles for the testing of other advanced missiles and fleet training. Thus tests of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles could be conducted from the coast out to the vicinity of the islands of Midway, Wake, and Eniwetok. With the addition of twelve instrumented ships downrange, the test range could be extended to 10,000 miles.
In 1960, Point Mugu was staffed by 3,900 military and 3,500 civil service personnel as well as 1,600 contractual personnel.

The range conducted 1,900 launch operations and 2,890 support operations.

At the end of 1964, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara converted the Point Mugu Pacific Missile Range to a contractor operation.

The Naval Air Station at Point Mugu is subordinate to the Missile Center. It does, however, provide administrative services to the Range. The Station provides military flights to all parts of the world in which tests are conducted. In 1974, some 50 thousand passengers on five thousand flights were cleared through the Station.

In 1977 Point Mugu became the home base for HAL-5, an attack helicopter squadron whose mission was to provide close air support to such units as special Warfare Group ONE, SEALS, UDT, and Coastal Riverine Forces.
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Updated 8 February 2016