The U.S. Navy launched expeditionary sea base Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB 4) at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard, Aug. 19.
The launch of ESB 4 involved slowly flooding the launching dock with water until the ship could freely float for the first time. Following launch, the ship completed construction and final outfitting before going to sea to complete a series of tests and trials prior to delivery in early 2018.
“We’re making tremendous progress on this ship,” said Capt. Scot Searles, Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships. “We’ll begin powering many of the ship’s engines and systems as early as next month as we prepare to get underway for sea trials in the coming months.”
The ESB will primarily support aviation mine countermeasure and special operations force missions. In addition to the flight deck, the ESB has a hangar with two aviation operating spots capable of handling MH-53E Sea Dragon-equivalent helicopters; accommodations, work spaces, and ordnance storage for embarked force; enhanced command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence to support embarked force mission planning and execution; and reconfigurable mission deck area to store embarked force equipment to include mine sleds and rigid hull inflatable boats.
GD-NASSCO is currently under contract to build ESB 5, which started fabrication in January and the keel laying is planned for early September. They are also the construction yard for the Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and boats and craft.
USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (T-ESB-4):
USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (T-ESB-4) is an expeditionary mobile base vessel under construction for the United States Navy. She is expected to enter service in 2018.
The $498 million contract for the vessel, then unnamed, was awarded to the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company(NASSCO) in December 2014.
Her name was announced as Hershel “Woody” Williams by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabuson 14 January 2016, honoring Hershel W. Williams, a World War II Marine Corps infantryman who earned a Medal of Honor in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Her keel was laid on 2 August 2016, and she is scheduled to be completed in early 2018.
She will be operated by the Military Sealift Command and is planned to operate in the Pacific Ocean.
Source: Team Ships Public Affairs