US Navy to start integration of enlisted female sailors on submarines
The US Navy will allow enlisted female sailors to serve on submarines, following the successful integration of female officers.
The latest move comes after Congress approved funding for the plan last year.
All ratings and enlisted classification codes to enlisted women will be opened for a two-phase integration aboard the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN), Ohio-class guided-missile submarines (SSGN) and Virginia-class attack submarines (SSN).
US Navy Submarine Forces commander vice-admiral Michael Connor said: "Integrating female officers into the submarine force has increased our talent pool and subsequently the force's overall readiness, ensuring that we will remain the world's most capable force for ensuing decades.
"Following our successful and smooth integration of women officers into the submarine force, the navy's plan to integrate female enlisted is a natural next step."
Enlisted women will begin their service as soon as 2016.
Reports added that to date approximately 50 officers have far been added to crews allocated to the SSBN and SSGN.
Those who volunteer to serve in the nuclear enlisted ratings will need to be trained on the operation of nuclear reactors and nuclear propulsion at the navy's nuclear power training command before joining the fleet.
Image: The US Navy's Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, USS Michigan (SSGN 727). Photo: courtesy of the US Navy.