Navy's new gender-neutral carriers won't have urinals
This is a Navy illustration of the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, the first of the Ford class of carriers.
July 11th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Navy's new gender-neutral carriers won't have urinals

[Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET] The U.S. Navy's new class of carriers will be the first to go without urinals, a decision made in part to give the service flexibility in accommodating female sailors, the Navy says.

The change heralded by the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers - starting with the namesake carrier due in late 2015 - is one of a number of new features meant to improve sailors' quality of life and reduce maintenance costs, Capt. Chris Meyer said Wednesday.

Omitting urinals lets the Navy easily switch the designation of any restroom - or head, in naval parlance - from male to female, or vice versa, helping the ship adapt to changing crew compositions over time, Meyer said.

The Navy could designate a urinal-fitted area to women, of course, but the urinals would be a waste of space. Making the areas more gender-neutral is a relatively new consideration for the service, with most of its current carriers commissioned before it began deploying women on combat ships in 1994.

But it wasn't the only reason for the move.

Urinal drain pipes clog more than toilets and therefore can be smellier and costlier to maintain, Meyer said.

"There's a lot more at play in the design objectives than (making the toilet areas) gender-neutral. We're saving money in maintenance costs, and we’re improving quality of life," said Meyer, manager of the Future Aircraft Carriers Program for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Other quality-of-life updates, according to Meyer:

- Sleeping areas, or berthings, generally will be smaller, designed for fewer people per room. On current carriers, some berthings have more than 100 sailors each. On the Ford carriers, the number will be closer to 30 to 50 each.

- Heads will be attached to berthing compartments. Currently, many sailors have to traverse a passageway between a berthing and a head, meaning sailors who’ve just woken up have to dress up more for a trip to the head than they would if it were adjacent.

The new Ford-class features were first reported by the Navy Times.

Some sailors said that they're happy to lose the urinals because they're hard to clean and maintain, the Navy Times reported this week.

The Ford class is the future replacement for the Nimitz class. The Ford carriers are designed to allow more aircraft sorties, but with about 660 fewer crew members, according to the Navy.

The first three Ford carriers are scheduled to debut between 2015 and 2027, at a total projected cost of $37 billion. That cost includes non-recurring engineering expenses and research and development costs for the first carrier, the Navy says.

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Filed under: Military • U.S. Navy
soundoff (1,012 Responses)
  1. troy

    Hope the ladies like to sit on wet seats!!!

    July 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ronbro51

    I wonder if they (tax payers, us) paid more for the gender neutral conversion. My bet is that they charged more for this slight change in modifications.

    July 14, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. mcalleyboy

    It's about time we grow up and act like adults and of course retire all senior Officers that are named "Mc" that have plagued the Navy and change with more dynamic thinkers not drinkers.

    July 14, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bob A

    No urinals...good! Pee on the toilet seats! LOL

    July 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Montanajau

      Obviously you're not in the military. One has to be an adult.

      July 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan Green

    Must be a slow news day.

    July 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Thinker

    I'm pro-military so much it makes the average Leftist burst into tears, but did they say $37B for just one ship?
    I think it's cheaper to just purchase the opposing navy!

    July 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Please read it again. It said:

      "The first three Ford carriers are scheduled to debut between 2015 and 2027, at a total projected cost of $37 billion. That cost includes non-recurring engineering expenses and research and development costs for the first carrier, the Navy says."

      Still extremely expensive, but not 37B for one ship.

      July 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Smith Jr.

      Are you surprised. The F 35 development program cost nearly 2 Trillion Dollars. Yes... Trillion. The thing is our military contractors have lobbied so well, that they can literally name a price and they'll get it. They can through a number in the air and congress will ok it. The Republicans in fact actually promote this type of spending which is ironic. When Admirals and General say they can work with less, for some reason congress gives them more. I don't get it.

      July 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      > "The first three Ford carriers are scheduled to debut between 2015 and 2027, at a total projected cost of $37 billion."

      That is a bit over $12B per carrier. Not cheap, but they are capital ships after all. Probably this price does not include the cost of the aircraft for new air wings I presume will be created for the new carriers – which will raise the overall price tag a good bit more. In any case, I'd rather us pay top dollar if we get a top force as a result.

      July 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldSeaDog

      No, numbnuts, the cost cited was fall several carriers.

      July 15, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • OldSeaDog

      Go back and re-read the article.

      July 15, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      No... they did not say $37B for one ship. Try again at the whole reading comprehension thing.

      July 15, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Igottagetalife

      Well think of the B-2 bomber a 2 billion a copy. We lose one of those and was it worth it? I can't imagine spending that much money on something that can be destroyed if seen very easily. Wasn't that what did away with the battleship ...technology made them relics.... how soon will we see the the B2 bomber and aircraft carriers as obsolete relics. Are we there yet?

      July 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paris Sinclair

      We don't actually have leftists in this country, and places that do have them, they're highly militarized.

      I'm a fairly average Democrat, and I wouldn't balk at all over a $37B ship. Less crew and more capability, that is exactly the sort of efficient technology we should be using. The initial amount of force these things can apply is equivalent to multiple traditional carriers because they can get them into the air quicker.

      It is sure a lot better than spending billions on R&D for fighter jets the fill the same role as the existing ones and require extra maintenance. Or fancy artillery designed to blow up next gen Soviet tanks that were never built.

      July 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. anthonyzarat

    Feminists will not rest until they destroy everything. Feminism is distilled selfishness, hate, bigotry, and avargice.

    Maybe men should start demanding that women make do with no tampons or maxi pads. After all, men can't use these things, so why should women have them?

    July 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Montanajau

      I was a Navy enlisted man in the '60s. If there was a urinal aboard my ship, I never saw it. There certainly is no reason to have the things, and certainly no reason for childish half-wits to be complaining about the lack of them. This is not a feminist takeover, children. Did you not read the article, which outlines several good reasons for the change? But if the only reason was to better accommodate female sailors, so what? Read the words: female SAILORS. They're doing the job; they deserve proper treatment.

      July 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.T.

      Men could demand women go without tampons or maxi pads. This will last for about a day until the first male servicemember is asked to clean any of resulting bloody messes behind by menstruating female counterparts :-/

      I do get snarky about being asked to put the toilet seat down, lol. What's so hard about leaving it up for men? 😀

      July 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. exCONsrvt

    Everyone should share restroom. Womend can use urinals with that paper adapter. Problem solved. Send me 10% of the money I just save our taxpayers. That should turn out to be like 10 million dollars.

    July 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dilberth

    These aircraft carriers are the Navy's version of a very expensive cruise ship. Heck, the whole thing is such a joke. It's a Carnival for the sailors who pledge to do some work in exchange to visit ports of call.

    July 15, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. RCL

    I cannot believe most of the comments here. The majority of you people must be 12 year olds with some kind of brain disorder...or perhaps an IQ of approximately 74.3.....

    July 15, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. OldSeaDog

    How much would the Navy save if women were restricted to shore duty?

    July 15, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Gas Predictor

      That used to be one of the complaints about women when I was in the Navy. "They're taking all the shore billets, increasing the sea/shore rotation for men."

      Let them go to sea. No problem.

      July 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • juandos

      Surely the Navy should be able to save enough to spring for at least one or two more missle cruisers, right?

      July 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fred

    Most males are afraid to have women on the ship or if on land, in the company because they are afraid that the women will surpass them as women have been doing in almost every area. Now since women have been getting an equal chance, most women are leaving most males in the dust. As a result, women are showing something I have known for years. Women are the superior gender and they are starting to show that women are not just a little but are vastly superior to the human male.

    July 15, 2012 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. T1

    I don't really know what this even means. I've been on 5 deployments on 3 different carriers and I have YET to see a urinal in a head. Maybe in Khaki heads?

    July 15, 2012 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
    • J.P.

      Ya I was a submariner we had no urinals either. USS Columbus had seawater running under the stalls and then directly overboard when at sea and someone was always lighting a raft of toilet paper and sending it down through to singe the hair on everyone's ass.....not a female environment...ha ha ha

      July 15, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. J.P.

    Gender neutral? Not the military I would want to be in. CNN come up with this? We need to celebrate men and women and not demand that all genders act alike. Military I would hope is not shooting to be gender neutral. Clone some automatons for the job if that's what they want. Maybe we aren't far from that ...I certainly hope not.

    July 15, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      What's so desirable about gender-specific restrooms? I'd say kill urinals everywhere, put in stalls and use the same restroom for everyone. You go in your stall to do the private stuff, then you wash your hands, which doesn't tend to be a very private matter.
      Just end these huge gaps in bathroom stall doors, they serve no purpose other than making people unconfortable while they are taking their dump.

      July 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 87marine

    Squat-to-pee sailers win out!

    July 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
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