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A few of our Aviation PhotoCrew members had the opportunity to visit NAS Point Mugu in April, part of Naval Base Ventura County (also consisting of Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island), in California. The facility in Point Mugu, started as a United States Navy anti-aircraft training center during World War II and was developed in the late 1940s as the Navy's major missile development and test facility. This was where most of the Navy's missiles were developed and tested during the 1950/1960 era, and they still do today.

Point Mugu is home for a few Navy air units, including the VX-30 (Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 30) "The Bloodhounds" flying the C and KC-130 Hercules, The P-3 Orion and the E-2D Hawkeye, The VR-55 (Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 55) "Minutemen" flying the C-130T, and 4 Airborne Command and Control Squadrons flying the E-2 Hawkeye (VAW-113, VAW-115, VAW-116 and VAW-117) as well as the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing flying the C-130J-30. Annexed to it, is a U.S. Coast Guard detachment which also operates out of Point Mugu.

The civilian aggressor contractor ATAC, short for Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, part of Textron Systems, also operates out of NAS Point Mugu, mainly to serve as adversary training for the U.S. Navy and Marines.

We were a little early so we paid a visit to the missile park where missiles tested on the Point Mugu Range are shown to the public. The Phantom and Tomcat were a nice extra!

To top things off we had a KC-130J from the VMGR-234 (Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234) "Rangers" based out of NAS Fort Worth, in Texas working the pattern for touch and go’s. In the meantime, a flight of two locally based E-2D's from the VAW-113 arrived on the overhead approach , giving us a beautiful chance to see a carrier style visual approach. Few minutes after, and just before we left the missile park for the entrance, we got 2 ATAC Hawker Hunters coming back from a training mission.

Once at the entrance of the base we were greeted by Drew Verbis, Public Affairs Officer, who guided us to our first stop: ATAC. We were greeted by Todd ‘BB’ Peasly – Director of Operations West Coast - who took us to the flightline where we got information about the IAI F-21 Kfirs and Hunters that they operate there. Besides these two types ATAC also operates the Mirage F1 (in their B, CT and CR versions), and the L-39. We were lucky to catch two Kfirs.

The Kfir was an unlicensed development based on the french Mirage V for the Israeli air force. Amongst the main differences between the two, we highlight the israeli advanced avionics suite, and the replacement of the original SNECMA Atar 09C engine with a more powerful and reliable General Electric J79.
The 6 hunters were ex-Swiss air force. And yes, they still push these jets to the limits!

After having plenty of time for questions and shooting the flightline we were again greeted by Drew who took us on a tour of the base, showing us the preserved wetlands, units based at the base and of course the missile testing facilities. As an extra surprise we got the chance to have a closer look at the VAW-113 "Black Eagles" flightline, including some time to shoot their E-2D Hawkeyes. Their CAG Bird, sporting a stunning Black paint caught most of our attention.

We would like to thank the people involved in making this visit possible and enjoyable! Drew and ‘BB’ in particular, who made sure that our time around the base would last long in our memory.


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