As part of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act, NAVAIR Lakehurst has become part of Joint Base McGuire, Dix and Lakehurst (JB MDL) as of 1 October 2009. The Lakehurst portion of JB MDL is the world's only provider of full spectrum support for aircraft launch, recovery and support equipment systems for Naval Aviation Forces at sea and Marine Corps Expeditionary Aviation Forces ashore. NAVAIR provides these services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, both from the home base in Lakehurst as well as aboard Navy deployed ships and Marine Expeditionary Forces. From system development, prototyping, testing, production, and in-service engineering, the base provides the Navy and Marine Corps aviation forces with all their Aircraft Platform Interface needs.
Navy Lakehurst, as it is collectively known, occupies 7,412 acres in the million-acre Pinelands National Reserve in central New Jersey. Here, the Naval Air Engineering Station provides the facilities and services to support the people and programs of Navy Lakehurst as well as other activities, units, and tenants on the base. The Station is also home to the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC), Lakehurst. As the largest occupant of the base, NAWC, Lakehurst operates as the Aircraft Platform Interface Group for technical mission support. This specialized niche of Naval Aviation pertains to the equipment, services, and processes needed to assure that fixed and rotary wing aircraft can operate from aircraft carriers, other air capable ships, and Marine Corps expeditionary sites. Navy Lakehurst is responsible for the catapults that launch the aircraft; the landing aids that guide them back to the ship; the arresting gear that recovers them on the deck; and all of the support equipment to move, service, and maintain aircraft.
Lakehurst began as a remote ammunition proving ground for the Russian Imperial Government in 1915. Acquired two years later by the U.S. Army, Lakehurst continued in this function until 1921 when it was commissioned as an air station for the U.S. Navy. Between 1921 and 1961, Lakehurst operated as a Lighter Than Air Center for rigid airships, and became the Nation’s first trans-Atlantic international airport. At one time or another, all of the Navy’s rigid airships were housed in Hangar One, as well as Germany’s two most famous ones the Hindenburg and the Graf Zeppelin. Today, Hangar One is a registered historical landmark, and the home of the Carrier Aircraft Launch and Support Systems Equipment Simulator, a one-quarter scale model carrier deck used for training Navy personnel. Nearby is the Hindenburg Memorial which marks the site of the 1937 crash. With the demise of dirigibles, Lakehurst turned its focus to aircraft carriers, helicopters, and airplanes. These innovations enabled air power to be interwoven with sea power, eventually leading the base to its current mission. Lakehurst features many unique facilities such as a 12,000-foot dedicated test runway, a catapult launch test site with deadload launch capability, a runway arrested landing site, an elevated fixed platform, a jet blast deflector area, a jet car track site, and a manufacturing complex. Among the best practices documented were Lakehurst’s carrier operations analysis; geographic information system; defense standardization program; and parts control program.
Navy Lakehurst is the critical link between air Navy and sea Navy. In addition to supporting this vital mission, Lakehurst provides outstanding community outreach programs; partners with local businesses and academia; and pioneers environmental and energy conservation efforts. The base has received numerous awards including the Quality Improvement Prototype Award (equivalent to the Malcolm Baldrige Award); the Environmental Showcase Installation Award; the Silver Gull Award; the Gold Nugget Award; and the Aviation Week Quality Center Award. The accomplished workforce at Navy Lakehurst is dedicated to total quality leadership and cost effective, reliable, technology superior support. The BMP survey team considers the following practices to be among the best in industry and government.