NAF El Centro

The Naval Air Facility, El Centro, CA

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Naval Air Facility,
El Centro, CA
Patch from G. Verver

Naval Air Facility,
El Centro, CA

Naval Air Warfare Center
Patch from G. Verver

Naval Air Facility El Centro was established in its present location in 1942 when it was commissioned as a Marine Corps Air Station. Since then the naval base at El Centro had several names: Naval Air Facility, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Naval Air Station, and the National Parachute Test Range. Although its name and activities have varied over the years, it has been in continuous use since World War II.

 

    For the first 35 years, the Navy in El Centro devoted much of its time toward aeronautical escape system testing, evaluation, and design. Today, NAF El Centro, provides realistic training to aviation units and activities of the Navy's operating and training forces. Aviation squadrons visit NAF El Centro to practice gunnery, bombing, carrier landings and air combat. The facility has two operating runways. The 9,500-foot east/west runway handles 96% of the traffic. It is equipped with a Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System at each approach end as well as lighted carrier deck landing areas at both ends so pilots can simulate ship landings. Apart from "touch and go" landings and take-offs, aircrews utilize the many ranges at NAF El Centro to develop their skills. A remotely controlled target area allows naval aviators to practice ordnance delivery. The desert range is used for air-to-ground bombing, rocket firing, strafing, dummy drops and mobile land target training. The target complex uses the Weapons Impact Scoring System that microwaves imaging to a range master control building.

    NAF El Centro also is the winter home of the Navy's elite Blue Angels precision flying team. NAF El Centro is located about nine miles west of the city of El Centro, CA.
Patch

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Handle

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Heritage

  • November 1947, the Parachute Experimental Division from Lakehurst, New Jersey moved to El Centro.
  • 1951, the Joint Parachute Facility was established and consisted of the Naval Parachute Unit and the Air Force 6511th Test Group (Parachute). The Air Force remained part of El Centro's test organization for the next 27 years.
  • 1959, an ejection seat designed for pilot escape from a high-speed jet at altitudes fewer than 1,000 feet was successfully tested here. That group also tested the parachute system that the Mercury Space Program used for the first U.S. manned satellites, and later for the Apollo re-entry system.
  • 1964, the US Naval Aerospace Recovery Facility was designated.
  • July 1, 1973, USNARF was combined with the Naval Air Facility to form the National Parachute Test Range.
  • July 1, 1979, the parachute test function was transferred to Naval Weapons Center China Lake and El Centro again became a Naval Air Facility.


Aircraft

  • Date Assigned ----------------Aircraft
  • 8 January 1959: - - - Douglas XA4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk *
  • 14 November 1958: - - Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk *
  • 19 July 1963: - - - - Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk *
  • 22 February 1970: - - Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk *
  • 6 December 1974 - - - Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk
  • 26 June 1972: - - - - Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk
  • * November 30, 1962
    • The A4D-1 designation changed to A-4A
    • The A4D-2 designation changed to A-4B
    • The A4D-2N designation changed to A-4C
     


    Commanding Officers

    • Assumed Command - - - - - Commanding Officer
    • None


    Events

    • No Info Yet


    Awards

    • Award - - - Award
    • No info

     


    Sources

    DEDICATION
    The Skyhawk Association is looking for a Skyhawk Pilot or Bluejacket whose loss of life, while assigned to NAF El Centro, merits the posthumous dedication of this web page.


    • Douglas XA4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk
      • 137812 C/N 10709
        • 08 Jan 1959 - NPU - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 31 Aug 1959 - NPF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 31 Jan 1962 - O&R BUWEPS FR - NAS Alameda, CA

    • Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk
      • 137821 C/N 11291
        • 14 Nov 1958 - NPU - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 31 May 1959 - NPF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 20 Apr 1962 - O&R BUWEPS FR - NAS Alameda, CA
      • 137823 C/N 11293
        • 13 Feb 1962 - NPF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 24 Jul 1963 - Storage - NAF Litchfield Park, AZ
      • 139929 C/N 11294
        • 13 Feb 1962 - NPF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 26 Jul 1963 - Storage - NAF Litchfield Park, AZ

    • Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk
      • 142109 c/n 11363
        • 19 Jul 1963 - NPF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 04 Feb 1964 - Storage - NAF Litchfield Park, AZ
      • 142116 c/n 11370
        • 21 Oct 1963 - NPF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 12 Feb 1964 - Storage - NAF Litchfield Park, AZ
      • 142807 c/n 11869
        • 01 Feb 1964 - NPF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 18 Jan 1966 - NARF - NARF El Centro, CA
        • 30 Aug 1967 - NavAeroRecovFac - El Centro, CA
        • 23 Apr 1969 - NavAeroRecovFac El Centro - Convert to TA-4B
        • 17 Apr 1970 - NAS - NAS Kingsville, TX
      • 142835 c/n 11897
        • 10 Feb 1964 - NPF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 31 May 1964 - NARF - NAS El Centro, CA
        • 29 Dec 1966 - VA-44 - NAS Cecil Field, FL
    • Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk
      • 145063 c/n 12309
        • 22 Feb 1970 - NavAeroRecovFac - El Centro, CA
        • 05 Jun 1974 - NatParaTestRange - El Centro, CA
        • 30 Jun 1975 - NatParaTestRange - El Centro, CA (Last)
        • Assume Stricken - No Further records found
      • 147761 C/N 12525
        • 26 Aug 1975 - NatParaTestRange - El Centro, CA
        • 06 May 1976 - MASDC - Davis-Mothan AFB, Tucson, AZ
      • 148437 C/N 12630
        • 15 Apr 1972 - NAVAERORECOVFAC - El Centro, CA
        • 23 Feb 1975 - NATF - NATF Lakehurst, NJ

        • 10 Jun 1975 - NATPARATESTSTRANGE - El Centro, CA
        • 01 Sep 1975 - NATF - NATF Lakehurst, NJ

        • 15 Apr 1972 - NAVAERORECOVFAC - El Centro, CA
        • 01 Jan 1975 - NATPARATESTRANGE - El Centro, CA
        • 23 Feb 1975 - NATF - NAS Lakehurst, NJ

    • Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk
      • 153524 c/n 13590
        • 26 Jun 1972 - VF-126 - Convert to TA-4J

        • 28 Apr 1976 - NATPARATESTRANGE - El Centro, CA
        • 15 Jan 1979 - NATC RDT&E - NAS Patuxent River, MD

    • Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk
      • 156896 c/n 13989
        • 06 Dec 1974 - NAVAERORECOVFAC - NAF El Centro, CA
        • 06 Dec 1974 - NATPARATESTRANGE - NAF El Centro, CA
        • 13 Aug 1979 - NATC RDT&E - NAS Patuxent River, MD

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