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. JRGGJR

    No urinals; another political correct decision; claim to increase quality of lie, yet it will be the opposite with urine covered toilet seats; I recommend to change the ship name to a Democratic president, since a republican would never have supported such a decision. Does this mean there will be no codex containers in heads also,

    July 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • concerned grandma

      what the hell is a codex??

      July 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. minfxbg

    This must be official, see the above memorandum from the chief of naval operations.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jorge washinsen

    If they can save money I am for it I suppose.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cookin

    who cares they will just pee on the seat now...

    July 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • MARIA ALVAREZ CORTEZ

      Women will love cleaning pee off every bloody seat. Common sense is just screwed. Men don't know how to raise a lid on a toilet and women love cleaning the pee off. YUCK.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Charles of the North

    "Natural Selection."

    Your to low on the food chain to worry about. You eat your own.

    Which is O.K. To me.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. oh look

    Oh look, a large influx of neanderthals commenting on this article. Willing to bet that means it got a post on the drudgereport.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gompers

      arrogant libunatic

      July 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • boss

      Typical lib, ironic, since they usually have little substance in debate and result to name calling anyway.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimmerz

      Who's calling names now. Look in the mirror.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • hax0rsaw

      Willing to bet you haven't spent any time on a US Navy ship

      July 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marta

      oh look .. it's oh look – drudge report troll always ready to pounce on any thread to annoy his fellow drudge report fans.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tadhg O'Seaghdha

      TROLL ALERT!

      July 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. garylee123

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

    37 billion and they are worried about the cost of urinals?

    July 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kuta

      Of course! Military urinals cost 500,000.00 each.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mahakala

    The destruction of our military by our Socialist-in Chief is almost complete.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kuta

      Missed it by one! I guessed five posts before someone blamed this on Obama. Bonus points for misuse of the word 'Socialism'.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mahakala

    If Barry ever has a navy ship named after him I hope it is a garbage scow.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill E

    Seats up fellas

    July 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Golden

      Nice post. I hadn't initially thought about the problems this could really bring with it. Yikes

      July 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hmmm

    Coming to a carrier near you next: Gender Neutral Underwear. Women will now be able to enjoy the same convenience of genital access than men have.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. n604ff

    "You don't actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?"

    July 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom Tucker

    Simply the next step in the liberal feminization of our military. Let the reprogramming continue.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TJP

    Urinals encourage speed, however. And unless the toilets are going to be completely open to each other, urinals take up less space. It would probably make more sense to have at least a few urinals in each head, given that the percentage of women is probably never going to go over 10-15% at any given time.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ed S

    Great! Long lines for everyone! Idiocy. Ban women from carriers..

    July 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tadhg O'Seaghdha

      Can't do that, Ed. They need someone to fill the vending machines (see the PBS miniseries "Carrier" for explanation.)

      July 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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