Approximately 90 miles from the fleet at Norfolk, Va., Naval Air Station Patuxent River overlooks the picturesque Chesapeake Bay. The station, affectionately known as “Pax River,” was commissioned in April 1943 and has since evolved into the center of excellence for naval aviation. With the consolidation, integration and collocation that has occurred throughout the last decade, Pax River now hosts the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), which provide the full spectrum of acquisition management, research and development capabilities, air and ground test and evaluation, aircraft logistics and maintenance management. This distinctive synergy supports land-based and maritime aircraft and engineering, T&E, integration, and life cycle support for ship/shore electronics. These combined capabilities are unique within the Department of Defense and ensure Pax River's status as an aviation leader working effectively to continue progress into the 21st century.
The naval air station complex includes Webster Field Annex and provides office space for the NAVAIR, NAWCAD and more than 50 tenant activities. Pax River's mission is to maintain and operate facilities and provide services and materials to support operations of NAWCAD, and other activities and units as designated by appropriate authority.
With the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) consolidations of 1991, 1993 and 1995 completed in 1998, approximately 22,000 people now work in support of the complex. Thus, the Navy is the largest employer in the community. Approximately 68 percent of these employees live in St. Mary's county, another 19 percent reside in Calvert and Charles counties. The remainder call other counties in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania home.
To accommodate the tremendous increase in employees and workloads due to the BRAC consolidations, more than one and a half million square feet of new construction and renovations were approved.
The BRAC implementation could not have been successful without outstanding community support. This continued teaming effort by the Navy, state and Southern Maryland communities is key to the future success of the complex.
As the complex grows to fulfill its mission as a center of excellence for research, development, test and
evaluation of military aircraft, so does the Navy's commitment to the community it serves. Working together to solve issues, providing mutual support and appreciating each others' efforts improves the quality of life for the community and Pax River employees and their families. To that end, the commanding officer openly encourages employee volunteerism and support for the community. Pax River employees provide thousands of hours in volunteer work for the community in a variety of
categories. These include tutoring, emergency response organizations and various youth organizations. Additionally, Pax River complex employees provide speeches and briefings to a variety of groups and organizations, local media and government officias on a continuing basis.
Webster Field Annex located 12 miles southwest of the Pax River complex, Webster Field Annex is home to the Ship and Shore Based Electronics Systems Competency (S&SBES). The S&SBES has four dynamic divisions that provide unique and much needed fleet support for many DoD critical systems. These divisions are:
The Air Traffic Control (ATC) Systems Division supports Navy and Marine Corps shipboard and shore based ATC landing systems. The division designs, integrates, tests and evaluates ATC systems for new and existing requirements and provides support for the systems in the fleet. This group of ATC experts is the only group in the nation that supports these shipboard systems installed on all carriers in the fleet.
The Identification Systems Division provides technology design and development, systems integration, training, software support and acquisition services for identification and ATC systems used by Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and foreign military sales combat ships.
The Integrated Communications and Information Systems Division provides design, development, integration, installation, testing, certification, training and in-service engineering for communication and information systems for ships, aircraft and land-based facilities. The division also prototypes, develops and performs in-service engineering for data link systems and designs, integrates and maintains information and knowledge management systems, local and wide area networks, and joint operations and crisis response centers in classified and open environments.
The Special Communications Requirements Division designs, develops, tests and supports joint special warfare communications electronics. The division develops quick reaction and testing of communications packages for hand-held and manpack radios, high speed and rigid inflatable boats, mobile and fixed-base operations, special communications vans and other vehicles, and air-land transportable command posts. The division also provides production of special operations communications packages for other agencies, including the U.S. Customs Service, White House Communications Agency and State Department.