Installation Info: Zip Code: 93555, Area Code: 760, DSN: 437
China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, 150 miles north of Los Angeles, sits on the western edge of the Mojave Desert and at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. China Lake NAWS is the Navy's largest research development test and activity site. It was established in 1943 as the Naval Ordnance Test Station. During WWII, non-nuclear explosive components were developed on the installation in support of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb.
Spread over a 1.126 million-acre complex, China Lake NAWS is home to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. The base offers one elementary school and one middle/junior high school. There is a medical clinic.
On-base recreation activities include arts and crafts, a bowling center, auto hobby center, 18-hole golf course, gym, pool and stables. Other local attractions include the China Lake Exhibit and Conference Center, where weapons used in wars ranging from WWII to the Persian Gulf are on display. Within driving distance are Rand Mining District, Maturango Museum, Trona Pinnacles, Death Valley and Mount Whitney, California's highest point at 14,494 feet above sea level.