NAS Patuxent River is located in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, approximately 65 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. The facility encompasses approximately 7,900 acres, including both the primary NAS parcel at the confluence of the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay, and Webster Field Annex, an outlying parcel located in St. Inigoes, Maryland, approximately eight miles south of the NAS.
NAS Patuxent River is bounded on the north, east, and southeast by more than 11.7 miles of shoreline, ranging from sandy beaches to tidal marshes. Maryland State Highway 235 and the town of Lexington Park, an unincorporated community, border the station to the west and southwest.
NAS Patuxent River was commissioned on April 1, 1943, in an effort to centralize widely dispersed air testing facilities that had been established prior to World War II. This consolidation effort was swift, and the farming operations at Cedar Point, Maryland, were replaced by flight test operations within a year after ground breaking for construction in 1942. The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School was established in 1958. In 1975, the Naval Air Test Center began to assume its role as the principal site for Naval Air Systems Command development testing. Test facilities were upgraded in the late 1970s, with some of the largest construction appropriations in the history of the base.
As a recipient activity during three successive rounds of base realignment and closure in the 1990s, NAS Patuxent River became the fastest-growing installation in the Department of Defense (DoD). This growth resulted in a large investment in new and renovated facilities and infrastructure at NAS Patuxent River. In addition to construction investments, the station obtained Webster Field Annex for use as an outlying airfield. As a result of the consolidation that occurred throughout the 1990s, the Naval Aviation Systems Team at NAS Patuxent River now hosts the full spectrum of acquisition management, research and development capabilities, air and ground testing and evaluation, aircraft logistics, and maintenance management for naval aviation.