Women as part of crew
Norway opened up every function in the armed forces to women in 1985, making the Royal Norwegian Navy the first navy to allow female crew. The Royal Danish Navy conducted trials with mixed gender crews in 1985 and 1987, making no alterations to the sub, and allowed for female submariners in 1988. The Swedish Navy made the change in 1989. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) began to allow female personnel in 1998 and thereafter Canadian Navy in 2002. Germany, Spain and Portugal also allow for females on all military functions, including submarines.
In 1995, Solveig Krey of the Royal Norwegian Navy became the first female officer to assume command on a submarine, the HNoMS Kobben.
The usual reasons for barring women is primness, given the lack of privacy and "hot bunking" or "hot racking", a common practice on submarines where three sailors share two bunks on a rotating basis to save space. The U.S. Navy argues it would cost US$300,000 per bunk to permit women to serve on submarines versus US$4,000 per bunk to allow women to serve on aircraft carriers. However, this calculation is based on the assumption of semi segregation of the female crew, possibly to the extent of structural redesign of the vessel.
The U.S. Navy permits women to serve on almost every other ship in the fleet, only allowing three exceptions for women being on board military submarines: 1) Female civilian technicians for a few days at most; 2) Women midshipmen on an overnight during summer training for both Navy ROTC and Naval Academy; 3) Family members for one-day dependent cruises.
The British Royal Navy does not permit women to serve on its submarines because of "medical concerns for the safety of the foetus and hence its mother" due to the potentially compromised air quality onboard submarines.
José M. Rico wrote:If I'm not mistaken in the Spainsh Navy today women can serve aboard submarines.
Bgile wrote:It's weeks at a time in those other submarine navies. In the USN it's months at a time. I spent a six month westpac cruise on USS Haddock. We made three patrols during that time. The ship was in port a TOTAL of 27 days, and we were submerged almost the entire time other than that. The average crew member got to go ashore on 13 days. It was less for the engineering folks because they had to keep the power plant up in most of the ports.
And they want to put a few women in that ship? The boomers are a lot better. More room, less time at sea, etc. But still challenging.
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