Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster

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Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster
NavalAirDevCent WarminsterPA NAN10-73.jpg
Aerial view of the NADC in the early 1970s
Airport type Military: Naval Air Station
Operator United States Navy
Location Warminster, Pennsylvania
Built 1930s
In use 1940
Occupants Navy
Elevation AMSL 375 ft / 114 m
Coordinates 40°11′0.00″N 075°03′58.00″W / 40.1833333°N 75.0661111°W / 40.1833333; -75.0661111Coordinates: 40°11′0.00″N 075°03′58.00″W / 40.1833333°N 75.0661111°W / 40.1833333; -75.0661111
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9/27 8,000 2,438 Asphalt, Concrete
NAWC, Aircraft Division, Warminster
(Johnsville Naval Air Development Center)
Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster is located in Pennsylvania
Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster
Location of the former Naval Air Development Center Pennsylvania
Location Warminster and Ivyland, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°11′35″N 75°04′31″W / 40.19295°N 75.07532°W / 40.19295; -75.07532
PA marker dedicated November 11, 1998[1]

Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster (IATA: NJPICAO: KNJP) was a U.S. Navy military installation located in Warminster, Pennsylvania and Ivyland, Pennsylvania. For most of its existence, the base was known as the Naval Air Development Center, Johnsville, NADC, or simply, Johnsville.[2]

The U.S. Navy purchased the grounds to establish this facility from the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation following its bankruptcy in the 1940s. The Brewster Buccaneer dive bomber was produced by Brewster at this location. It was named Brewster Field. After the US Navy took over in 1944, It was renamed NAMU (Naval Manufacturing Unit Johnsville).It was a modification center for fleet aircraft before joining the fleet. Wing panels for PBY's were manufactured here for assembly on planes at Mustin Field at the Philadelphia Naval Aircraft factory. The famous Chance Vought F4U Corsair was also modified here, with the Brewster F3A version being built here during WW2. It was renamed a Naval Air Development Center in 1952.[3] [4] The facility played an important role in Project Mercury. Since Johnsville possessed the world's largest centrifuge, capable of spinning a man to at least 16g, (42g max 19g/s onset) it was used for astronaut training.[5] The centrifuge was later used for flight simulation where it could simulate 6 degrees of freedom with g loading. The F-14 flat spin on takeoff issue was investigated and resolved on the DFS Centrifuge. Later endeavors included supine seat experiments, G-Tolerance Improvement Program (GTIP), and F/A-18 simulation. The DFS Centrifuge building (formerly building 70) has been refurbished as a museum, office space and a theater.[6][7][8]

Base closure[edit]

The base was closed by the federal government Base Realignment and Closure action in the 1990s and most of its operations were transferred to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Lexington Park, Maryland. In 1992, as part of the BRAC, the NADC Navigation Department (Code 40) was transferred to NCCOSC (Naval Command, Control and Ocean Surveillance Center) Research, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Division San Diego, CA.[9][10] NRaD Warminster Detachment ultimately relocated to San Diego when the base closed on September 30, 1996.[11][12]

NADC Code 40 and subsequently NRaD Warminster Detachment Code 30 operated several facilities including the GPS Central Engineering Activity (CEA) and a large, dome-shaped, underground facility (Inertial Navigation Facility).[10] This facility performed the engineering functions associated with Inertial Navigational Equipment, including gyroscopes, used for inertial navigation systems on military aircraft and submarines. While the GPS CEA currently operates out of San Diego, CA,[13] the underground inertial facility is maintained and operated by the Penn State Applied Research Lab (ARL).[14]

The 8,000-foot-long (2,400 m) runway at the base was able to accommodate the C-5 Galaxy military cargo aircraft.

It is now home to an industrial park, Warminster Community Park, a housing development, the new Bucks County morgue and crime lab and Ann's Choice, a senior citizens' housing complex. Stormtracker6, the Doppler weather radar for WPVI is also located there.

While once part of the EPA's superfund list, the US Navy has completed all cleanup activities at the former base.[15]

In 2014, the Warminster Municipal Authority issued a public notice stating that groundwater contamination has been identified on and in the area for the form NAWC site and shut down two supply wells as result of the contamination until further notice. The water is contaminated with Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. Contamination was detected in other wells but not above the EPA's provisional Health Advisory Level.[16]

The former runway of Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster is now part of Warminster Community Park and contains basketball courts and a playground

See also[edit]

Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields



  1. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Johnsville Naval Air Development Center Historical Marker". Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Celebrating 275 Years Of Warminster Twp.". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  4. ^ "Johnsville Naval Air Development Center Historical Marker". Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  5. ^ Ackmann, Martha. The Mercury 13. p. 57. 
  6. ^ "Johnsville centrifuge site to be a small biz center". Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Johnsville Naval Air Development Center Historical Marker". Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  8. ^ "Celebrating 275 Years Of Warminster Twp.". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  9. ^ "Evolution in Naval Air Navigation - From NADC to NRaD". Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "NRaD Detachment, Warminster". US Navy. Retrieved 7 April 2012.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "SPAWAR_Pacific_Web_Site" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  11. ^ "Johnsville Naval Air Development Center Historical Marker". Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  12. ^ "Celebrating 275 Years Of Warminster Twp.". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  13. ^ "The GPS Division" (PDF). US Navy. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "ARL Navigation Research Facilities". Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "Naval Air Development Center Warminster". Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "PUBLIC NOTICE FROM YOUR WATER AUTHORITY". Retrieved 3 August 2014. 


  • Martha, Ackmann (2003). The Mercury 13. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-375-50744-2. 
  • Clark, Kathleen (2010). "Chapter 2: The Naval Air Development Center". Warminster Township. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-7348-9. 

External links[edit]