China Lake, CA

The Work We Do
China Lake is home to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD). A unique combination of laboratories, ranges and weapons test squadrons (including the Land Range, Superior Valley Tactical Training Range and Electronic Combat Range), and one of the Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons, give the team at China Lake the ability to provide efficient deployment of new weapons systems, fleet training and tactics development. We’re dedicated to delivering to the Sailors and Marines the right readiness, at the right cost, at the right time. Weapons Division is home to the Weapons and Armament Center.

Almost 2,000 scientists and engineers are engaged in designing the 21st century battlespace. We’re working to develop and apply new technology to ensure joint battlespace dominance. Research, development, acquisition, test and evaluation (RDAT&E), logistics and in-service support for:

  • Guided missiles
  • Free-fall weapons
  • Targets
  • Support equipment
  • Crew systems
  • Electronic warfare


Living & Working in China Lake
China Lake has been a leader in research, development, acquisition, test and evaluation for more than 60 years. Our unencroached air and land ranges provide unmatched geographic conditions in which to develop and test weapons systems and explore tactics for desert and mountain environments. That’s how we’ve become a world leader in complex weapons systems and software integration, and energetic materials and subsystems. Our success can be seen in developments like the Sidewinder missile, the world’s premiere dog-fight weapon. 

It’s an incredible environment in which to work. Our culture is inclusive and supportive. The best personnel, applying best practices and using the latest technology, means we get superior results. Though we depend largely on our scientists, engineers, physicists and mathematicians, it takes everyone from anthropologists to zoologists, carpenters to metallurgists to complete our mission. Everyone here shares a common pride in their work, and a strong sense of dedication to serving our nation. 

About 150 miles north of Los Angeles, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, China Lake has incredible access to natural resources and recreational activities. The city of Ridgecrest is a family-oriented community of 25,000, offering the best aspects of small town life, with affordable housing, a unified school district, a community college and shopping amenities. Incredible outdoor activities are nearby — whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, skiing, fishing, boating, camping and more are at your fingertips. And it’s just a short road trip away to visit Magic Mountain, Death Valley, Las Vegas, San Diego, Disneyland or Yosemite National Park. On-base activities include a travel and tours office, an auto hobby shop, bowling center, golf course and driving range, gym and fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, many intramural sports and child, youth and teen programs. 

China Lake Stats
5,000 civil service, military and contractor personnel
1.1 million acres
17,000 square miles of restricted airspace over land
12 percent of California’s total airspace
Positioned between two geological extremes: the highest point (Mount Whitney, at 14,497 ft) and the lowest (Badwater, at 282 ft below Sea level)

Who We Hire

  • Engineering

    • Aerospace Engineers
    • Chemical Engineers
    • Computer Engineers
    • Electrical Engineers
    • Material Engineers
    • Mechanical Engineers
  • Science

    • Chemists
    • Computer Scientists
    • Mathematicians
    • Operations Research Analysts
    • Physicists
  • Business and Related Fields

    • Contract Specialists
    • Financial Management Analysts
    • Logisticians

And Professionals in:

  • Mission & Sensor Systems
  • Software Engineering
  • Aeromechanics
  • Guidance & Control
  • Test & Evaluation
  • Basic & Applied Research
  • Avionics
  • Modeling & Simulation
  • Nano-Particle Technology
  • Hypersonics
  • Weapons Integration
  • Electronic Warfare
  • System Design & Development
  • Energetics
  • Contracts Management
  • Financial Management
  • Corporate Operations
  • Operations Research

For more information on China Lake, CA, click here.