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NAF El Centro
Latest update: April 2020
Naval Air Facility El Centro located in the nearby town and close to the border between California and Arizona accommodates training for US Navy and US Marine squadrons. The base with the exception of a T-34C Mentor doesn't have aircraft stationed.

In January and February the base is home to the USN/USMC aerial demonstration team the Blue Angels. Stationed across the country at NAS Pensacola, Florida the team changes its base for its annual winter training. At NAF El Centro the Blue Angels start to work towards the new air show season. At the same time NAF El Centro can host other squadrons to support their training needs. In the vicinity ranges are located which can be used for air-to-ground missions with both live and dummy munitions. The Blue Angels operate from a ramp in front of a hangar which is at their dispersal. Other aircraft operate from the ramps which have all received sun sheds to protect airmen and aircraft from the sun.
Flying operations start early in the morning with first departures already taking place at 07:00 As the ranges are located in close proximity to NAF El Centro missions don't take long with some aircraft arriving back between 30 and 45 minutes after their departure. The Blue Angels are assigned training blocks during which they will practice their formation and solo displays. Each are allocated for one hour. During these blocks, also in the weekend, no other aircraft are allowed in the El Centro CTR. It's wise to check the NOTAM before visiting. Both US Navy and US Marine Corps (also during the weekend) helicopters are using Imperial County Airport for (short) refuellings. Depending on your location these can be seen heading to or from the airport. Travel between the two locations takes about 15 minutes which is enough to be on time to see or photograph the departures.

Two runways are in use. Main runway 08-26 for almost all traffic and cross runway 12-26. The later is used by the Blue Angels. In the northeast corner between these runways a ramp is situated where aircraft are fitted with live weapons.

NAF El Centro is also used by aircraft from MCAS Miramar and NAS North Island both located at San Diego, California and MCAS Yuma, Arizona conducting training approaches, touch ans goes etc. 

During our visit to the soutwest area a squadron swop took place during a weekend. New temporaily residents arrived on Friday and Saturday.

NAF El Centro, based aircraft first week:
Wing / CAB Group Squadron Aircraft Code Nickname MCAS / NAS
NFDS   Blue Angels F/A-18B/C/D     NAS Pensacola, FL
TW-1   VT-7 T-45C A-xxx Eagles NAS Meridian, MS
TW-1   VT-9 T-45C A-xxx Tigers NAS Meridian, MS
TW-2   VT-21 T-45C B-xxx Red Hawks NAS Kingsville, TX
TW-2   VT-22 T-45C B-xxx Golden Eagles NAS Kingsville, TX
MAW-3 MAG-16 HMH-465 CH-53E   Warhorses MCAS Miramar, CA
1 ACB   3-227 AHB UH-60M   Werewolves Fort Hood, Killeen AAF 
NAF El Centro, visiting aircraft first week:
Wing Group Squadron Aircraft Code Nickname MCAS / NAS
MAW-3 MAG-11 VMFA-323 F/A-18C NA-4xx Death Rattlers MCAS Miramar, CA
Base Flight   VMR-2 UC-12W     MCAS Miramar, CA
NAF El Centro, based aircraft second week:
Wing / CAB Group Squadron Aircraft Code Nickname MCAS / NAS
NFDS   Blue Angels F/A-18B/C/D     NAS Pensacola, FL
    VFA-122 F/A-18E NJ-2xx Flying Eagles NAS Lemoore, CA
    VFA-122 F/A-18F NJ1xx Flying Eagles NAS Lemoore, CA
    VFA-125 F-35C NJ-4xx Rough Raiders NAS Lemoore, CA
    VAQ-129 EA-18G NJ-5xx New Vikings NAS Whidbey Island, WA
    VMA-223 AV-8B WP-xx Bulldogs MCAS Cherry Point. NC
1 ACB   3-227 AHB UH-60M   Werewolves Fort Hood, Killeen AAF 
NAF El Centro, based aircraft second week:
Wing Group Squadron Aircraft Code Nickname NAS Corpus Christi
TAW-4   VT-27 T-6B G-xxx Boomers NAS Corpus Christi
TAW-4   VT-28 T-6B G-xxx Rangers NAS Corpus Christi
Abbr. Full squadron name        
ACB Air Cavalry Brigade        
AHB Assault Helicopter Battalion  
HMH Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron  
MAG Marine Air Group  
MAW Marine Air Wing  
NFDS Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron.  
TW Training Air Wing.  
VFA Strike Fighter Squadron.  
VMA Marine Attack Squadron.  
VMFA Marine Fighter Attack Squadron.  
VMR Marine Transport Squadron  
VT Training Squadron.  
Photo gallery first week
A VMFA-323 (CVW-9) F/A-18C in the pattern of NAF El Centro for some approaches. A T-45C assigned to TW-1 taxing out to runway 26.
Followed by its colleague from TW-2. About 20 Goshwaks were deployed from both wings.
Arriving for a quick visit from MCAS Miramar was its stationed UC-12W assigned to VMR-2. A CH-53E assigned to HMH-465 hovering over runway 30. The squadron deployed with five of their Super Stallions. Four T-45C's assigned to TW-2 lined up for departure.
Photo gallery second week
VFA-122 deployed with its F/A-18E and
F/A-18F Super Hornets. 
The squadron is the Fleet Replacement Squadron training aircrew and maintenance personnel on the Super Hornet. 
The Super Hornets are nicknamed Rhino. VFA-122 is stationed at NAS  Leemore where they conducts their lying operations alongside its west coast colleagues assigned to the Pacific Carrier Air Wings.
Except aircraft used for test and development work all EA-18G Growlers  are stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, WA. VFA-125 send three Growlers to El Centro to fly missions.
A US NAvy T-6B assigned to TW-4 (either VT-27 or VT-28) about to depart NAF El Centro back to  NAS Corpus Christi, TX. The second east coast based AV-8B Harrier II squadron operating from the west coast. VMA-223 stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, NC took up residence at NAF El Centro.
One of the Harriers about to turn into final runway 26.  VFA-125   
Photo gallery Blue Angels