San Nicolas Island
San Nicolas Island [ a.k.a. San Nic and SNI], is the most northwesterly of the four southern Channel Islands. Like its eastern neighbor San Clemente Island, San Nicolas is a US Navy owned and operated island. Located 65 NM southwest of the Point Mugu complex, San Nicolas Island is the cornerstone in the Sea Range capabilities. Because of its instrumentation, isolated environment, shoreline characteristics, San Nicolas Island is ideal for conducting test and training exercises. Because of its isolated environment and shoreline characteristics, SNI is ideal for providing littoral warfare training, including tri-service and theater warfare exercises. It is also an excellent environment for conducting classified operations.
SNI is a Navy owned and operated facility used as an instrumentation site. SNI is the cornerstone in the Sea Range capabilities because of its land mass and depth of surrounding waters. The main support facilities include a 10,000 foot runway, an air terminal, housing, a power plant, a fuel farm and other necessary base support functions. The main San Nicolas Island complex provides complete housing, dining, recreation, transportation, and public works support. Project billeting and logistic support is also available on the island.
San Nicolas Island Navy Outlying Field is capable of supporting C-5's, the 10,000 ft runway, 2 hangers, and associated airfield support facilities are located near the southwest edge of a 500 ft mesa. The runway is lighted and equipped with arresting gear and has a ground control approach systems (ILS). The Barge Landing Area beach landing area is used to barge cargo to large or bulky for aircraft. Cargo can be off-loaded and trucked to the main compound or one of the many project areas.
Air Resorts has two contracts with the U.S. Navy: F11626-93-D-0032 and F11626-94-D-0018. Under one contract, Air Resorts has operated the non-TCAS equipped CV-440 aircraft from Pt. Mugu Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS), California to San Nicholas Island Navy Outlying Field (NOLF), California. On the other contract, the aircraft have operated from North Island Naval Air Station (NAS), California to San Clemente Island Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF), California. The usual alternate for the San Nicholas route is Pt. Mugu, and for San Clemente, it is Navy North Island.
The San Nicolas Island Vandal Launch Pad launch complex is capable of supporting missile (Tomahawk & RAM) and missile targets (Vandal) launches. Launch complex's, ordnance handling, and a remote/secure environment provides an ideal location for weapons T&E. Many of the targets routinely used on the Sea Range (the BQM-34 and BQM-74 series and the MQM-8G) are launched from either the Point Mugu Surface Launch Complex at Building 55 or from additional specialized launch facilities on San Nicolas Island.
The west end of San Nicolas Island provides a secured area for missile targets and is often used for SLAM and land attach missile operations. The Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS) is a remote controlled ship with SeaSparrow, RAM, and CWIS defense systems and various target acquisition systems. It provides an open-ocean, integrated, self-defense platform without the safety constraints associated with a manned ship.
San Nicolas Island has numerous radars including three FPS-16 and two RIR-716 tracking radars, and one FPS-114 surface and one ARSR-3 air route surveillance radars. SNI is instrumented with metric tracking and surveillance radars, Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, optics, telemetry, and communications necessary to support long range and over-the-horizon weapons testing, Fleet training and Theater Missile Defense exercises. SNI instrumentation also supports InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and Polar satellite launches from the Western Range at VAFB. In addition, frequency monitoring, meteorological measurement systems and ordnance and launching facilities are available. Capabilities include launch of subscale and unmanned full-scale targets and launch sites for surface-launched weapons.
San Nicolas Island has extensive telemetry collection facilities including three 30 ft, two 20 ft, one 8 ft, and 7 ft diameter antennas. Signals can be recorded and routed to the Point Mugu operations complex for best source selection. The SNI Telemetry Collection Facility also provides real-time reception, recording and relay of telemetry data. SNI supplies this telemetry data to Point Mugu for processing and display. Telemetry signals are received through land-based antennas located at SNI and sent in real-time by a fiber optic cable and/or microwave to Point Mugu. The best source signals are then sent by fiber optic cable to the TDC, located in the ROC for real-time processing and display. The SNI telemetry facilities are ideally located to support operations throughout the Sea Range as well as strategic and space launches from the Western Range (WR), Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB). The capability to record and display Miss Distance Indication (MDI) and video Doppler data is also available. Nearly all major users of the Sea Range rely on telemetry support from SNI.
In Sept 2002 it was announced that the contract for a new pier at SNI had been awarded to Nova Group, Inc for $11,500,000. Currently, barges that bring supplies to the island are landed on the beach and are routinely delayed due to weather and sea conditions. The barge delays cause vital military testing and training on the NAVAIR Weapons Division Sea Range to slip. The new pier will significantly reduce the delays and impacts on the growing population of seals and sea lions that breed and pup in the area.
Contract Number N68711-02-C-2004 was awarded by the Southwest Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, San Diego, with assistance from the NAVAIR Weapons Division, and the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center.
The contract includes the design and construction of a 460 foot long pier including mooring systems and a ramp to facilitate offloading the barges. A new operations building, and transit shed for cargo are also included.
The pier will be built on the southeast end of the island in an area called Daytona Beach. Design is underway, with construction expected to be complete in Spring 2004. Once the pier is completed, barges will be able to pull up to a horizontal, mechanical ramp that will lower from deck elevation to water level for roll-on roll-off cargo transfer.
As of September 22, 2004, construction was under way on the world's first open-ocean, roll-on roll-off pier off the California coast. The $12 million construction project on Naval Outlying Landing Field San Nicolas Island is meant to enable the Navy to safely offload equipment and supplies for use by the island's Navy and civilian population. Prior to the pier's construction, supplies were brought aboard the island by being offloaded right on the beach, using an old pontoon system where the barge had to be beached on the shore. One drawback with that method was the small window available resulting from the tides to safely onload and offload trucks and equipment from the barge.
The contractor for the project, Nova Group of Napa, Calif., precast more than 80 percent of the concrete for the pier and dolphin structures, including pile caps, planks, piles, and pile caps for dolphins. The pier and dolphin structures are approximately 640 feet long, with a deck elevation that varies from 10 feet to 29 feet.
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