Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake is part of Navy Region Southwest under Commander, Navy Installations Command and is located in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, approximately 150 miles (240 km) 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 United States Navy's largest single landholding, representing 85% of the Navy’s land for weapons and armaments research, development, acquisition, testing and evaluation (RDAT&E) use and 38% of the Navy’s land holdings worldwide. In total, its two ranges and main site cover more than 1,100,000 acres (4,500 km2), an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. As of 2010, at least 95% of that land has been left undeveloped. The roughly $3 billion infrastructure of the installation consists of 2,132 buildings and facilities, 329 miles (529 km) of paved roads, and 1,801 miles (2,898 km) of unpaved roads.
The 19,600 square miles (51,000 km2) of restricted and controlled airspace at China Lake makes up 12% of California’s total airspace. Jointly-controlled by NAWS China Lake, Edwards Air Force Base and Fort Irwin, this airspace is known as the R-2508 Special Use Airspace Complex.