The Naval Strike Air Warfare Center began with the consolidation of three other units (the Naval Strike Warfare Center, the Navy Fighter Weapons School and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School) on July 11th, 1996. The NSAWC is much more then an aggressor squadron, however, the F-16s that are used are strictly aggressors. Esentially this became the new 'Top Gun' and came about due to the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure which recommended moving 'Top Gun' and consolidating it at NAS Fallon, Nevada. Therefore 'Top Gun' still exists as a school but not as its own individual sqaudron.
The NSAWC operates the ex-embargoed F-16s that were to go to Pakistan but ended up being stored in AMARC. Half of the embargoed F-16s went to the USAF and the other half went to the USN. Unlike the previous F-16s operated by the USNavy, there is only one unit. When the F-16s started to arrive, they wore the Pakistani paint schemes and were slowly re-painted in aggressor markings. In total 14 F-16s were delivered to NAS Fallon.
USNavy F-16A block 15 #90-0946
with '55' bort code of the NSAWC is taking off from NAS Fallon to conduct a new DACT mission. [Tailslides
photo by Peter]
In 2007 the USNavy was receiving pressure to give up these F-16s to be returned to Pakistan. Several of the embargoed F-16s that the USAF operated were sent to the PAF. The USNavy has not been as eager to give up its vipers. In the recent order by the Pakistani government all the former Peace Gate III/IV aircraft are included. Probably, the USAF examples will be converted to MLU standard first before the USNavy examples have their turn.
Other then the F-16, the unit also operates a variety of aircraft including H-60s, F-14s and F/A-18s. It is therefore not a specific F-16 squadron.
In July of 2015 the name of the unit was changed to Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center so that all those units across the Navy had the same naming conventions. The units' task remained exactly the same.
USNavy F-16B block 15 #92-0460
from the NSAWC seen taking off from Fallon on January 5th, 2007. [Photo by Jason Hyatt]