The US Navy has announced a policy change, which will allow women to serve on submarines.

Female officers will begin to serve the navy submarines after completing the 15-month submarine officer training programme.

Training includes nuclear power school, prototype training and the submarine officer basic course.

The navy will implement the policy change by assigning three female officers in eight crews of guided-missile attack and ballistic missile submarines.

The assignments involve two submarines on the East Coast and two on the West Coast, each of which is supported by a Blue and Gold crew.

Navy officials said the first women to serve on US Navy submarines would be on the job by late 2011.