Dugway technical personnel are at China Lake, Calif., to test the effects of chemicals on Navy aircraft.

Workers from Dugway and the Naval Weapons Test Center are trying to determine the vulnerable spots on four types of aircraft - the F/A-18, A-6E, F-4 and AV-8B. A Dugway press release said the scientists spray the planes with a harmless chemical simulant, diethyl malonate, in liquid and vapor form.The tests began in 1987 and will continue through early 1990. Data gathered will be used to recommend other aircraft for testing, among other things.

One of the tricky aspects has been simulating conditions on an aircraft carrier in the middle of a desert. To simulate wind conditions on deck, the smaller jets are placed behind the propellers of a Navy P-3 plane, which provides a constant 25-knot wind.

While some of the data is retained for analysis at China Lake, most is returned to Dugway.