Tejon RCS Facility - Northrop Grumman Location
The facility is located at the northwest end of the Antelope Valley, on the slopes of the Tehachapi Mountains, at the mouth of Little Oak Canyon. It is 18 miles due west of the town of Rosamond.
Its remote location on unnamed dirt roads makes discerning a site address difficult, but two have been found. A notice on the access gate refers to “8900 Waynes Road” and a Northrop filing with the FCC refers to 7000 230th Street West.
History and Property Ownership
According to published reports, the range was constructed “in the early 1980s”.
Attempts to track down official records on the facility have proven a most curious affair. The facility is located primarily on Sections 25 and 36, of T10 N., R16 W., SBM. This puts it within the County of Kern, the county seat being Bakersfield.
A visit to the Assessor’s office in Bakersfield revealed the property in question is owned by the Tejon Ranch, a massive property owner in the Tehachapi Mountains. The records also show that the surrounding land to the south and east consist of a multitude of smaller parcels, all in a large number of different hands. Strangely, the Assessor’s records show that there are no improvements on the parcels upon which the RCS facility sits. Further, they show the use to be an agricultural preserve, and taxed at a very low rate.
Confused by this, I ended up speaking with several of the Assessor’s staff. It turns out they are aware of the facility , but stated, “we’re not allowed to set foot on it.” One of the staff told me he attempted to visit the site a number of years ago, but was turned away by armed guards. The Assessor’s staff told me it is “a secret government installation.” When I replied it was my understanding it was owned by Northrop, they suggested that Northrop was perhaps the operator, but that the improvements were in reality owned by the government. I asked what paperwork they might have identifying the improvements as government owned (they referred to what they called a “government exclusion”), thus authorizing them not to carry the facility on their tax rolls. They told me verbally that they did not know of any.
After submitting a written request for clarification to the Assessor’s office, it turns out the improvements are indeed listed, but as “unsecured property” on a different set of tax rolls. The owner is listed as Northrop Grumman, with an assessed valuation of approximately $7 million. It therefore appears the facility is not owned by the government.
I also paid a visit to the Kern County Fire Station in Rosamond. They have jurisdiction for doing fire inspection for all commercial and industrial development in that part of Kern County. They told me that it was a secret facility and were not allowed on the property. They said any inspection was done by the government.