Weapons Testers At China Lake Obliterate Everything In This Crazy ‘Greatest Hits’ Reel

The US military’s qualitative edge depends a lot on the huge test apparatus that supports it, including weapons ranges where things go bang…a lot!

byTyler Rogoway|
China photo


Every so often, the mad scientists and weapons testers down at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake release a montage video of their testing highlights over a period of time, and their 2017-2018 showcase video has just arrived. In it we see missiles fired, bombs dropped and targets vaporized on a grand scale. It's like a Jerry Bruckheimer fevered sex dream come to life!

The video shows UTAP-22 drones launching, MANPADS blasting targets out of the sky, all types of guided air-to-ground munitions shacking the hell out of vehicles and structures, bunker-buster bomb bodies hurtling off rocket sleds through concrete walls, a big Tactical Tomahawk flying right through the spine of a parked F-4 Phantom target and many others clips of pinpoint destruction and general mayhem—all conducted under very tight and highly safe testing conditions!

Video thumbnail

I described China Lake as follows when the installation posted its last highlight reel back in 2016

Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, located in the western reaches of California's Mojave Desert, is a wondrous place when it comes to military aviation and pretty much everything associated with it—and it still holds some secrets. From massive, sound-stage like missile seeker testing facilities, to rocket sleds, to electronic warfare ranges and a runway dedicated to unmanned aircraft operations, NAWS China Lake offers militaries and their associated industry partners from around the world a huge menu of testing capabilities. But above all else, NAWS China Lake's expansive and diverse set of live-fire ranges are truly a national treasure. 

Soon we will be taking a deep dive into that national treasure via a first-hand account of what it's like to work at the relatively isolated but fascinating facility. 

In the meantime, enjoy the fireworks!

Side challenge! Pull the best still frames from the video and post them down in the comments section below. There are plenty to go around, like this inert JDAM fusing before plowing into the ground:

Youtube screencap

Or this Tactical Tomahawk kissing the hulk of an F-4:

Youtube Screencap

Or how about this laser-JDAM hood ornament!:

Youtube Screencap

Show us your screen grabs!

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com