Naval Air Warfare Center - Weapons Division

Angelique Zamarron
Magruder Hall 1000
China Lake, CA


All participants must be US Citizens. Permanent Residents and Dual Citizens are NOT eligible for this program.

Mission: To execute full-spectrum weapons and warfare systems RDAT&E.

Vision: To be the leader providing innovative, integrated, and dominant warfighting effects for our Naval, joint, and coalition forces.


China Lake and Point Mugu, California, are the primary locations of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD). NAWCWD delivers capabilities that make our Naval Forces more lethal and survivable and emphasizes the insertion and advancements of technologies to act as enablers of warfighting capability, leveraging the asymmetric advantage of our innovative workforce and maintaining our outcome-oriented ethos.  The two primary Weapons Division locations offer complementary capabilities that can match the diverse needs of Navy warfighters, system developers and tacticians. The Point Mugu location manages the Point Mugu Sea Range that comprises fully-instrumented surface, sub-surface and air ranges, as well as serving as the Navy’s center of electronic warfare (EW) expertise. The Weapons Division at China Lake, located in the majestic Mojave Desert, turns concepts into reality, developing leading edge weapons and associated systems from preliminary design to fielding, and maintaining those systems with state-of-the-art logistics management and in-service support. 

Since 1943, China Lake has been a leader in research, development, test, and evaluation of guided missiles, advanced weapons and combat systems. With an array of collocated laboratories, test and training air and land ranges, dedicated crews flying and evaluating advanced aircraft systems, and world-class science, engineering and acquisition personnel, China Lake expertise is a sought-after commodity from customers the world over. China Lake also supports training and tactics development and offers year-round, operational and logistics support to the fleet. 

Point Mugu was established in 1946 as the Navy's first instrumented missile test sea range. It offers enormous geographic diversity: vast ocean, deep water ports, protected islands within restricted, special use air space. The 36,000 square-mile sea range, which includes San Nicolas Island, supports both developmental and operational test and evaluation of missiles, free-fall weapons and electronic warfare systems. Point Mugu supports the fleet EW community from concept development to year-round operational support. The range also support fleet training and tactics development, particularly large scale, major exercises, including fleet battle experiments.

Cutting Edge Workforce

Technical research expertise and collaboration/cooperation is needed in disciplines such as Physics, Chemistry, Computational Sciences, Material Science & Engineering (software, hardware, and processing) and Energetics. The people, state-of-the-art facilities and technology services that enable NAWCWD to lead the world in Naval research, weapon and combat system development include the following technical capabilities:

  • Air-to-Air Weapons 
  • Air-to-Ground Weapons 
  • Missiles/Freefall Weapons 
  • Energetics
  • Electronic Warfare Systems 
  • Land and Sea Ranges 
  • Live Fire Testing System Integration 
  • Platform/Weapon Integration
  • System of Systems 

Strategic Focus Areas of Interest

Air Wing Integration and Interoperability

Focus areas:  

  • Radio Frequency (RF) and Infrared (IR) signature reduction technologies
  • Manned/unmanned teaming (MUM-T)
  • Assured communications
    • Low probability of intercept, Low probability of detect waveforms and algorithms
  • Decision Support Tools

Integrated Fires and Effects

Focus areas:

  • High fidelity, real-time simulations
  • Improved Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) capabilities
  • Leverage artificial intelligence / machine learning (AI/ML)
    • Auto-generating meta-models from full simulations
    • Big data reduction and analysis
    • Decision support tools

Long Range Fires and Improved Lethality

Focus areas:

  • Seekers (including high temperature materials)
  • Robust navigation in degraded environments
  • Increased lethality with same or smaller payload space, weight, and power
  • Airframes and advanced thermal protection systems (novel power generation)
  • Heterogeneous communications and collaboration capability (addressing high-speed/high-altitude flight regimes)
  • Advanced propulsion systems including air-breathing systems that provide extended range capabilities
  • Receive persistent targeting in beyond line of sight scenarios while transiting a high Mach regime

Spectrum Dominance

Focus areas:  

  • Next generation EW capabilities
  • Enhanced passive and active kill chains
  • Integration with long range fires
  • Quantum sensing

Unmanned Systems

Focus areas:  

  • Manned / unmanned teaming (MUM-T)
  • Command and Control autonomy
  • Weaponization / payload integration

In addition, we are aggressively pursuing new, promising science and technology developments with the potential to provide transformational leaps in lethality and survivability in the following areas:


  • Propulsion
  • Warheads
  • Materials

Non-Kinetic Effects

  • Electronic Warfare
  • Directed Energy
  • Cyber Warfare

Intelligent Autonomous Systems

  • Autonomy
  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Unmanned Systems

Advanced Weapon System Technologies

  • Weapon System Enablers
  • Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance & Targeting
  • Sensing Systems
  • Decision Support Systems

NAWCWD Research Department:

The Research Department supports the US Navy’s current and future readiness through application of the core sciences of Chemistry, Physics and Computational Sciences.  Future readiness is supported through fundamental research in diverse areas that can yield major advances in basic science and lead to valuable Navy intellectual property.  In time, this research will provide the basis for advanced technology that will enable the Navy to have a game-changing technological advantage over potential enemies.  As part of this future-focused research, the department maintains state-of-the-art research facilities and develops scientists with a strong understanding of US Navy needs and military specific technologies.  As such, these facilities and scientists will also provide a critical "just in case" capability to answer the call when problems arise.  

NAWCWD Weapons and Energetics:

Weapons and energetics includes, but is not limited to, technical excellence and professional focus on emergent thrusts, such as weaponization of unmanned systems, directed energy, networked weapons, miniature munitions, insensitive munitions and energetics science and technology, survivable weapons, air dominance, unconventional warfare, tailored effects and non-lethal weapons, and precision guidance and control, to demonstrate proud dedication and lightning-fast response to Warfighter needs.