The Defence Secretary has confirmed, as predicted, that women will be allowed to serve aboard Royal Navy submarines. In a major speech today at the Royal United Services Institute, Mr Hammond said that:
... We will change and adapt with the evidence and the circumstances. We will value our history and traditions - but we will not be slaves to them.
In that spirit, I can announce today that I have accepted the recommendation of the First Sea Lord that women should be allowed to serve in submarines in the future.
Female officers will serve on the Vanguard Class submarines from late in 2013, followed by ratings in 2015.
Women - officers and ratings - will also be able to serve on the Astute class submarines from about 2016.
- Mr Hammond's RUSI speech in full: Delivering on the Frontline: Operational Success and Sustainable Armed Forces
For background, BBC News reports that:
Women are to be allowed to serve on Royal Navy submarines, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed.
The first women officers will begin serving on Vanguard-class nuclear subs in late 2013.
They will be followed by female ratings in 2015, when women should also begin serving on the new Astute-class subs.
Women had been excluded from subs because of health concerns about carbon dioxide but recent research suggests the fears are "unfounded".
Last year the US Navy lifted a ban on women submariners.
Women have been serving on Royal Navy ships since 1990 and around 9% of Royal Navy personnel are female - totalling 3,420 officers and ratings. ...