Naval Air Warfare Centers[1][2] are research organizations within Naval Air Systems Command. The centers are grouped within the following divisions:

Aircraft division

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD)[3] conducts research, development, test, evaluation and sustainment for all United States Navy and United States Marine Corps aircraft and aircraft systems. It operates a test wing and ranges,[4] facilities, laboratories[5] and aircraft in support of military operations worldwide.

NAWCAD employs military and civilian engineers, testers, scientists, and other professionals across four locations: Orlando, Florida; Lakehurst, New Jersey, St. Inigoes, Maryland and at its headquarters in Patuxent River, Maryland.[6][7] It is one of two naval air warfare centers, along with Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division,[8] that provides scientific[9] and technical support to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).[10]

Naval Test Wing Atlantic

Naval Test Wing Atlantic[11] is made up of four test and evaluation squadrons. Based in Patuxent River, Maryland, the wing supports test and evaluation of aviation systems ranging from unmanned to rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and subsystems. It also provides aircrew, aircraft assets, maintenance support, operational and safety oversight, process and facility support for developmental flight and ground testing.

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two One (HX-21) supports rotary-wing and tilt-rotor aircraft, unmanned aerial systems and airborne systems, including the V-22, UH-1Y, AH-1Z, CH-53K, MH-60R, and MH-60S.

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Zero (VX-20) supports C-2A, C-12M, C-38, E-2C/D, E 6B, C/KC-130J/T, MQ-4C, P-8A, and T-6A.

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) supports fixed wing tactical aircraft, including the F/A-18 A/B/C/D and E/F, EA-18, T-45, and F-35.[12]

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Four (UX-24) is the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ first dedicated test and evaluation squadron for unmanned aircraft systems,[13] including fielded platforms like the Wasp, RQ-11 Raven, RQ-20B Puma, RQ-21 Blackjack and MQ-8 Fire Scout.

U.S. Naval Test Pilot School

The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS)[14] trains military and civilian test pilots, flight officers and engineers in the test and evaluation of aircraft and aircraft systems. Located in Patuxent River, Maryland, it is the only U.S. source of rotary wing test pilots, and serves as the test pilot school for the U.S. Army.

USNTPS graduates two classes annually. The 11-month program includes 530 academic hours, 100 sorties and 120 flight hours. Its syllabus is divided into three parts: fixed-wing, rotary-wing and airborne systems. The school has also added test techniques for unmanned aviation systems.[15]

Its program has graduated over 90 NASA astronauts and members of the Original Seven including Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Wally Schirra, and Alan Shepard. It also graduated NASA’s first African-American administrator, Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, NASA twins[16] Scott and Mark Kelly, and Vice Adm. James Stockdale.

Atlantic Test Ranges

The Atlantic Test Ranges[17][18] are instrumented test ranges providing support test and training for aircraft, aircrew and subsystems. The range features a telemetry center for real-time data transmission from up to nine separate in-flight aircraft to ground engineering personnel. The center manages over 2,700 square miles of restricted airspace including targets and airspace over the mid-Atlantic seaboard.

Weapons division


  1. ^ "About Us". Archived from the original on 2016-04-11.
  2. ^ "Welcome to the Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division |". Archived from the original on 2009-07-21.
  3. ^ "Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD)". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  4. ^ "AOPA Airports". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  5. ^ "Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) - Aircraft Division - Patuxent River | Federal Labs". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  6. ^ "Naval Air Station Patuxent River". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  7. ^ "About Us". St. Mary's County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  8. ^ "Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  9. ^ "Naval Air Warfare Center – Aircraft Division | TechLink". TechLink Center. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  10. ^ "Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  11. ^ "Naval Test Wing Atlantic | NAWCAD". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  12. ^ "Naval Aircraft Testing Likely Caused Sonic Booms". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  13. ^ Affairs, This story was written by Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Public. "U.S. Navy Holds Ceremony to mark First Dedicated UAS Test Squadron". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  14. ^ "United States Naval Test Pilot School | NAWCAD". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  15. ^ "Naval Test Pilot School Adds New Focus on Unmanned Aircraft". USNI News. 2019-06-27. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  16. ^ Mars, Kelli (2018-09-28). "NASA's Twins Study Results Published in Science Journal". NASA. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  17. ^ U.S. Navy. "ATLANTIC TEST RANGES : MARYLAND WITH NAS PATUXENT RIVER" (PDF). Readiness and Environmental Protection and Integration [REPI] Program Project Profile.
  18. ^ "Atlantic Test Ranges | NAWCAD". Retrieved 2019-07-10.