Naval Air Field El Centro  -  "Present Day"

 

Naval Air Field El Centro has had various Names and has been used for different purposes since the field was 1st established in 1946.

Today the Naval Air  Field at El Centro in California stands out a bit different to most other

Air Stations. There are no permanent assigned Aircraft stationed at the field.

Although the Air Field is open all Year round it becomes very active in the winter Months.

Several Air Arms detach to El Centro each Year to make use of the great weather, the fresnel lens optical  landing system so pilots can simulate carrier landings plus the nearby military gunnary ranges.

Although mainly used by the United States Navy, its not unusual to see other units from America and overseas Countries come and use the facility to train.

Also the Blue Angels display team use El Centro to build up there "show" from January each Year.

Again the Californian weather and the huge vast areas to train are ideal.

Performing there 1st live show for the fans at the NAF El Centro Air Show held in March.

Rich Pittman / VLNPhotography visited on and off base at  El Centro on 9th and 10th February 2015

 

VAQ 129 "Vikings"

 

During my visit the VAQ 129 "Vikings" usually based at NAS Whidbey Island in Washington were detached to El Centro on a 4 Week deployment. The Vikings train US Navy and Air force Pilots on the F18F Growler. Using the callsign Phoenix Vaq129 were nearing the end of there 4 Week exercise, I was lucky to witness several  "touch n goes" using the optical landing system.

 

 

VFA122 "Flying Eagles"

 

The other other Squadron in Town when I visited were the "Flying Tigers" from Leemore in California.

VFA122 fly the Super Hornet.Several mission profiles were seen, some with live ordnance under the callsign "Expert" Flying from Dawn to Dusk.

Between the 2 SQNs Over 150  sorties were seen during 2 Days.

 

Also visiting El Centro  to use the Hot refuel pits were AH1s, ch53s and V22 from the Marine Corp.

This refuelling facility allows aircraft transiting the area or coming off the near by ranges a quick  "Gas N Go" and they can be on there way again quickly to continue there missions.

Rich Pittman/VLN Photography would like to thank the El Centro public affairs officer Kristopher Haugh with his assistance with this article.