US Navy USS Hershel Woody Williams Expeditionary Sea Base operates with Senegalese Navy

According to information published by the United States Africa Command on October 7, 2020, the US Navy Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) conducted passing and communications exercises with Senegalese naval counterpart patrol vessel Kedougou in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Senegal in September.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 US Navy Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams conducts a passing exercise with Senegalese OPV Offshore Patrol Vessel Kedougou in the Atlantic Ocean, September 21, 2020. (Picture source United States Africa Command)

USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Expeditionary Sea Base and Kedougou Offshore Patrol Vessel used the Senegalese Maritime Operations Center to communicate and pass information to conduct the exercise. Communications Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force provided additional assets for maritime communications between the two vessels.

U.S. Navy vessels routinely conduct training with allies and partners in order to enhance interoperability and increase capability in order to strengthen regional maritime security.

Hershel “Woody” Williams is on a regularly-scheduled deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of operations and is a key element in integration between U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, especially Marine aviation and support to amphibious operations.

Other operations and training the ship can conduct include support to Special Operations, command and control, and staging of equipment and other assets, as directed. The ship will be a long-term presence assigned to the U.S. Africa Command mission set and will support security cooperation missions and operations in and around the African continent.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts joint and naval operations in order to support regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. 

The USS Hershel "Woody" Williams (ESB-4) is a Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base, currently in service with the United States Navy. The ship was commissioned by the Navy in Norfolk, Virginia on 7 March 2020. An expeditionary sea base is designed to be a semi-submersible, flexible, modular platform providing the US Navy with the capability to perform large-scale logistics movements such as the transfer of vehicles and equipment from sea to shore.

The ESB is configured with a 52,000 square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel. The ship is capable of supporting multiple missions including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and U.S. Marine Corps crisis response. It can also support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters and will be upgraded to support MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft.

The Kedougou is an OPV Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Senegalese Navy manufactured by the French company STX. She was launched in October 10, 2014. OPV 45 vessels are 45.6 m long and 8.4 m wide. It can be armed with a weapon system up to 40 mm. Two 6.2 m RHIB are also on board. Its hull is made of steel and the superstructure is in aluminum. There are 25 sailors aboard. The vessel has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. It is powered by two Cummins diesel engines (1 940 kW) providing a top speed of 22 knots. Endurance is ten days with a range of 2 000 nautical miles. It is able to launch two RHIBs via a stern ramp.

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