NAWS China Lake is part of the Navy Region Southwest, Commander, Navy Installations Command and is located in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, approximately 150 miles north of Los Angeles. Occupying three counties – Kern, San Bernardino and Inyo – the installation’s closest neighbors are the cities of Ridgecrest, Inyokern, Trona and Darwin. The main gate of the installation is located at the intersection of Inyokern Road (Highway 178) and China Lake Blvd. in the city of Ridgecrest.
China Lake is the Navy's largest single landholding, representing 85 percent of the Navy’s land for RDAT&E use and 38 percent of the Navy’s land holdings worldwide. In total, its two ranges and main site cover more than 1.1 million acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. As of 2010, at least 95 percent of that land has been left undeveloped. The roughly $3 billion infrastructure of the installation is comprised of 2,132 buildings and facilities, 329 miles of paved roads and 1,801 miles of unpaved roads.
The 19,600 square miles of restricted and controlled airspace at China Lake makes up 12 percent of California’s total airspace and provides an unprecedented venue for integrated testing and training of today’s warfighter.
The workforce at China Lake is a mixture of military, civilians and contractors that are employed across multiple tenant commands. There are currently 620 active duty military, 4,166 civilian employees and 1,734 contractors employees that work onboard the installation.