Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy announced today that it launched the expeditionary sea base Hershel 'Woody' Williams from the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in Norfolk, Va., last week.
The ship will undergo its last stages of construction and outfitting before embarking on sea trials in the coming weeks before delivery of the vessel to the Navy in early 2018.
"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," Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager Capt. Scott Searles said in a press release.
The Williams will be the second ship of its kind, after it's sister ship the Lewis B. Puller. It is 784 feet long and has a 52,000 square-foot flight deck. The vessel will serve as a logistical hub for other ships with fuel and ammunition storage and repair facilities.
The Williams helicopter facilities and storage capacity make it ideal for humanitarian and disaster relief support, in addition to uses for anticipated aviation mine countermeasures and special operations force missions.