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    Two Years Later, the Navy Continues to Support Efforts to Rehabilitate Damaged Infrastructure at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake



    Courtesy Story

    Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center

    Within the span of 48 hours, two sizable earthquakes rocked central and southern California during the summer of 2019, leaving billions of dollars of damage in its wake.

    These significant seismic events occurred at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake. The first 6.4 magnitude earthquake event occurred on July 4, 2019, and the second more severe 7.1 magnitude earthquake event occurred on July 5, 2019. China Lake is the Navy’s largest single landholding, representing 85% of the Navy’s land for research, development, test and evaluation or RDT&E —for scale, China Lake accounts for 12% of California’s total airspace.

    The damage sustained in the consecutive earthquakes deemed NAWS China Lake and its largest tenant command Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division or NAWCWD, temporarily “not mission capable” as it was operating at approximately 50% of its normal capacity. Base infrastructure and utilities (approximately 3,600 structures altogether) underwent surveying after the earthquakes, with damage totaling nearly $2.9 billion. Nearly $2.3 billion of the total damage assessment will replaced with new infrastructure through military construction projects, while the remaining funds will either repair or replace specialized equipment, furniture, machine tools, telecommunication assets, and other facility needs.

    Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC)—the only warfare center within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Enterprise—is supporting Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Commands, Southwest (NAVFAC SW) and Officer in Charge of Construction China Lake (OICC CL) by providing damage assessments, design review, and consultation pertaining to explosives, explosive safety, and blast and fragmentation efforts for several repair projects administered by OICC CL earthquake recovery program aboard NAWS China Lake.

    Immediately following the earthquake, the public works department at China Lake began the assessing damage. NAVFAC EXWC formed a magazine storage assessment team and mobilized them to NAWS China Lake in mid-July of 2019. The week following, NAVFAC EXWC began the process of assessing the high explosive storage magazines and towers for incurred damage.

    At NAWS China Lake Propulsion Laboratory test area, the Motor Assembly Compound—a series of interrelated buildings—is set to undergo infrastructure changes to increase personnel capacity and equipment. Four facilities, including the explosive operations building, inert operations building, inert storage building, are receiving design recommendations from NAVFAC EXWC for personnel and equipment protection for the new motor assembly building, redesigned to meet the explosives safety and quantity distance requirements per NAVSEA OP-5.

    The Navy’s premier static rocket motor test facility, the Skytop Propulsion Test Complex (Skytop), which supports every level of propulsion research and testing efforts for the Department of Defense. The primary use for Skytop’s large motor test bays are for the Strategic Systems Program—a highly specialized workforce of military, civil service, and defense industry partners who develop, produce, secure and provide lifecycle support for the Navy’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles and strategic weapons systems. The injuries sustained during the earthquake rendered Skytop firing bays 1, 2, and 4 unsafe for occupancy.

    The Thermal Dynamic Test Facility (T-Range), a test environment that simulates high temperature and high velocity flow conditions, is receiving both repairs and new construction because of the earthquake. As it stands today, the T-Range has consolidated existing operations into one succinct control building as repairs to its infrastructure continues. The new control building will replace the preexisting control room, and will consolidate both data acquisition and the wind flow tower into one operational facility.

    The T-Range also sustained damage to its firing pad. The repairs—all designed in accordance with NAVSEA OP-5 requirements—will consist of new piping, a concrete firing pad, and new structural components that support a moveable test enclosure and an integral overhead bridge crane with rails bolted onto the firing pad.

    The firing range will undergo infrastructure changes by adding a single-story 1,200 square-.foot reinforced concrete control room facility and associated firing pad capable of testing various ordnance items up to 249 lbs. net explosive weight. To support this effort, the NAVFAC EXWC Shore Technical Department is providing NAVFAC SW a design review and consultation for explosives safety.

    “The Thermal Dynamic Testing Facility (T-Range) is staffed and equipped to carry out testing of materials and components in simulated hypersonic free-flight environments,” said Spencer Pickett, NAVFAC EXWC Structural Engineer of the Shore Technical Department. “These environments produce intense heat and pressure conditions which are replicated on the firing pad. The scientists and engineers operating T-Range collect data for the critical evaluation of weapons systems and components.”

    NAVFAC as a whole will render solutions to NAWS China Lake for conservatively another three years; NAVFAC EXWC will support for another year.


    About Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC):
    NAVFAC EXWC is a command of more than 1,300 dedicated federal employees, contractors, and military personnel who provide research, development, testing and evaluation, and in-service engineering to deliver specialized facility and expeditionary solutions to the warfighter.



    Date Taken: 09.22.2021
    Date Posted: 09.22.2021 11:10
    Story ID: 405763
    Location: RIDGECREST, CA, US
    Hometown: PORT HUENEME, CA, US
    Hometown: SAN DIEGO, CA, US

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