Variable Angle Launcher

Azusa, CA

Morris Dam Test Facility (MDTF) was built at the Morris Dam Reservoir for the purpose of obtaining basic hydrodynamic data for use in design and development of Naval Ordinance, particularly air-to-water projectiles. The Variable-Angle Launcher (VAL) and its predecessor, the Fixed-Angle Launcher (FAL) were a consolidated effort between the scientific and military research and development communities. The VAL was the only structure in the nation where full scale, air launched projectiles could be tested at high velocities and variable entry angels into a body of water. MDTF served as a valuable resource during WWII and the Cold War era, spanning over 50 years.

Heritage Architecture & Planning prepared a Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) for the Morris Dam Test Facility per the Memorandum of Agreement among the Department of the Navy, the California State Historic Preservation Officer, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as a mitigative measure prior to demolition of the facility. The recordation included a complete investigative research into the facility, its construction, operation and significant importance to the war effort during World War II and the Cold War Era. Four reports along with an extensive photographic recordation were submitted to the National Park Service.

The lease for the use of the property required that the project be returned to its natural state when it was no longer used by the Navy. All buildings have been removed from the site to meet the requirements of the original lease.

  • United States Navy NCCOSC, DRT&E
    • Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documents
  • 1995