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China Lake, California

The Land Ranges are located at the China Lake Complex in California’s upper Mojave Desert on more than 1.1 million acres of land. This land space and over 17,000 square miles of controlled airspace are dedicated to weapons and weapons system RDT&E.

Outside the range boundaries, the land is sparsely populated and, within a radius of 50 miles, mainly in the public domain. Overlaid on the China Lake range area is the R2508 airspace complex, which includes an additional 1,700 square miles of restricted airspace. Airspace is available for air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons and weapons systems test and evaluation as well as training and tactics development.  

Air-to-air weapons fall primarily in the short-range category with medium- and long-range missiles (>20nm) tested under restricted launch conditions. Operational environments include high altitude to low altitude, subsonic to supersonic, day or night live-fire capability, and high ground clutter background.  Head-on, tail-on, look-down and crossing angle firings are typical scenarios.

Air-to-surface weapons include short to long range missiles, conventional free fall weapons, guns and rockets. Missile launch scenarios include ranges greater than 50nm and altitudes above 30,000 feet to ranges less than 10nm and altitudes below 500 feet.  Ground targets span the spectrum from simple bull's-eye targets to remotely-controlled tanks, dune buggies and other vehicles. Simulated SAM sites, railroads, airstrips and tunnels are also available along with one of DoD’s most complete array of Radio Frequency (RF) targets for Anti-radiation Missile (ARM) development and live-fire testing.

The primary ground range is over 30-miles long and is used for testing surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, guns, artillery and gun ammunition. Gun ranges are capable of firing small- to large-caliber ammunition with instrumented impact areas and recovery of test projectiles.  Ordnance assembly and conditioning facilities are equipped for the assembly of ammunition and missiles and conditioning chambers for pre-firing environmental conditioning. 

The Land Ranges are within combat flight radius of several other DoD facilities, including Edwards and Nellis Air Force bases; the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin; and Navy facilities at Point Mugu, California, and Fallon, Nevada. The Land Ranges are electronically linked with many of these facilities with communication and data channels available.

The Complex includes a fully equipped airfield with three major runways, one 10,000 feet long. Most of the heavily instrumented test facilities are concentrated on or near the vast dry lake bed that covers the southwestern quarter of the North Range Complex. The Land Ranges provide complete test and evaluation infrastructure for day- or night-time operations, including test planning, conduct, real-time and post-test data analysis, safety and security. Ranges are available for use singularly or collectively depending on the size and scope of the test program.

Typical instrumentation includes telemetry receiving; video, laser, global positioning and radar tracking systems; fixed film and video camera systems; UHF/VHF communications; and meteorological support. Customer supplied instrumentation can also be used.

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Supersonic Naval Ordnance Research Tracks (SNORT)