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. Mexicali

    37 friggin billion USD and eliminating urinals is touted as a cost saving decision; too funny. At least now we can bomb the enemy with used tampons.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Yankeelouie

    The fantail is gender neutral but harder to use if you are female. No problem as the fleet will be mothballed soon any way with bio-diesell at $59.00 a gallon. The greening of the navy is the end of the navy unless we go back to sailing vessels.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. warren wilson

    It's official: Under the Obama administration, US servicemen pee sitting down.
    How Moslem. How french. How Progressive.
    Time for the November 2012 Wahsington enema.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. waitforflash

    US Marine: "When I joined the military it was illegal to be hömösëxüäl, then it became optional, and now it's legal. I'm getting out before Obama makes it mandatory."

    July 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob Wilke

    This change was made to allow Barrack Obama to visit the ship and urinate while on board.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Doug

    Why not just belly up to the side and whiz into the wind standing upright, then you don't need anything and you can tell the individual next to you it's raining.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. williampenn

    It's pretty simple, really. Urinals offend radical feminists, because they remind them of men. The American flag offends Muslims, so pretty soon they wont be flown on US ships, either.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ray

    Acomodating females? Some of these girls arent' females in the real sense anyway. Besides you can always use a gatorade bottle next to your bunk bed and dump it when you get up. Men will be men and these females unless doing a desk job don't deserve any acomodations.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fishsnot

    How utterly ridiculous!

    July 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    Next we will be taking the guns and aircraft off because it makes our enemies uncomfortable.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. brad

    I would think it would be easier to sit on the moving ship/submarine/airline for better aim than standing. Less misses on the wall and floor.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Earl P. Holt III

    With Obama as Bolshevik-in-Chief, the Pentagon couldn't find its ass with both hands tied behind...

    July 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. conant

    Everybody just wizz in the scuppers- totally gender neutral

    July 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Al of GA

    No problem, just pee in the sink or the waste basket.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    Just do what we did on a Submarine. Take a seat off of one toilet and presto, you have an urinal. Also easy to re-convert.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
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