The following excerpts were snipped from Silence, tight quarters and no women: On board Israel's most advanced submarine By Amos Harel Sep 09, 2016 (read all few pages)
Haaretz’s military correspondent joined the crew of INS Rahav, the Israel Navy’s newest submarine, on a brief training cruise. He learned about the unique physical and mental demands of service on the IDF's most expensive war machine, its technological capabilities and why Israeli subs are still off-limits to women.
( color and underscoring emphasis added by M.E. )
“Discussion on the integration of women on submarines is legitimate. ... No one here would refuse an order for women to serve on submarines. ... It’s also not a matter of restraint. Possible sexual tension on a long cruise could make it more complex, but that won’t break a submariner – he’s used to giving up a lot of things.” - Col. Doron, outgoing commander of Shayetet 7, the Israel Defense Forces submarine squadron. [Israel Defense Forces (IDF) censorship forbids publication of officers’ surnames.]
Some countries, such as Italy and the Scandinavian countries, decided that this need not be a limitation. Women and men dress together in the same room. It’s not perceived as a sexual thing. The Italians concluded that their effort was a failure. [ibid]
This might be justified if there were a large number of potential female submariners, not just one or two. “We asked the U.S. Navy for input – they’ve had women on submarines for the past two years,” Doron says. “But they have 72 subs, some of which are bigger than ours, so they have room for maneuver. The Australians have six women in their submarines, which are also larger, and they allocate them a specific area. If a woman gets sick, she is replaced by another woman. But assignment problems arise.
One outstanding feature of submarine service is the need for total severance from the outside world during long missions – almost unparalleled in other operational units. Is such a disconnect still feasible in an era when 20-year-olds are as active in the digital world as they are in the real one, if not more? Doron acknowledges that this has become a problem and necessitates more intensive preparation. “In the submariners course, they already can go weeks without a cell phone,” he explains.
Submarines are always silent and strange.
Labels: assignment problems, Australia, cell phones, INS Rajav, Israel, Italy, restraint, Shayetet 7, Sweden, U.S. Navy, women