Gray Butte RCS Facility - McDonnell Douglas Location

McDonnell Douglas’s Gray Butte RCS facility is located approximately 25 miles due east of Palmdale, on the Los Angeles-San Bernardino county line. It is at the site of an old World War II auxiliary airfield and has utilized the old runways as its ranges. The site address is 25500 East Avenue R-8, Palmdale.

History and Property Ownership

This facility is the oldest of the RCS ranges in the Mojave, dating back to the 1960s.

This sprawling 4.5 square mile facility is owned and operated by a McDonnell Douglas subsidiary called McDonnell Douglas Technologies. I have heard the facility has been recently sold off to another corporation since Boeing’s acquisition of McDonnell Douglas, but I have no hard ownership data at the moment.

According to the LA County Assessor’s office, most, but not all, of the facility’s land is owned outright by McDonnell Douglas. There are a number of small parcels showing other ownership, so it is a reasonable assumption there are long term lease arrangements in place. This part of the desert is a patchwork of various sized private parcels, and McDonnell Douglas seems to have in place an acquisition program for properties to the north and south.

The 1995 assessed value of the facility was $12,896,000 for land, $6,429,000 for improvements and $7,446,000 for “personal property”, for a total value of $26,771,000.