On August 19, San Diego-based shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO completed the float-out for USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams, the second Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) to be constructed for the US Navy.
A float-out occurs when a ship is ready to be moved from a graving dock to a pier for the next phase of construction. As part of the process, seawater flows into the graving dock, gradually raising the ship until it floats on its own.
Named after retired US Marine and Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, the 784-foot-long ship will serve as a flexible platform to support a variety of missions, including air mine countermeasures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security and humanitarian missions.
The ship will provide for accommodations for up to 250 personnel, a 52,000-square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, and will also support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters with an option to support MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft. The ship is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
The newbuilding is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
General Dynamics NASSCO has delivered three ships in the class to the navy – USNS Montford Point (ESD 1), USNS John Glenn (ESD 2) and USNS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3). In addition to USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), the fifth ship is under construction at NASSCO as part of the program.