Hey, is the IDF integrating the submarine fleet?

by Craig Hooper on September 28, 2010

The IDF is facing a manning problem. According to Ha’aretz, the Israeli Defense Forces’ sub fleet is working to expand the submariner pipeline, growing from three sub teams to a total of ten. Are women going to be a part of this new cadre?

Look, finding enough guys capable of completing the grueling training cycle is hard enough, but, as the IDF sub fleet grows to five hulls, trebling the IDF sub force is pretty much impossible without a new source of recruits. Which gets us to the image at the right, taken from the Ha’aretz story. The sailor training in the background (working in the IDF’s sweet new “land-sub” training facility) is either sporting some unusually long-hair or…the sailor is a woman.

Think about that. A woman in an IDF sub trainer. Not that a single photo should stand as proof, but, why else would somebody be in a submarine trainer but to, well, be training to serve on a sub?

If the IDF sub force is integrating (a big “if”), it is wise to recall that the IDF isn’t integrating a big, relatively commodious boat. The IDF’s modified U212 Dolphins are only about 2,000 tons, berthing a compliment of about thirty (give or take depending upon the mission at hand). And, back in 2006, the sub commander had this to say:

“The submarine was not built to accommodate both men and women. We are unable to allocate a special zone on the vessel for women dormitories. Why should we venture into something that has failed in a large part of the fleets in the world, where there is even more lenience on these issues?” he asked.

So, there we have it. Lot to overcome if they’re gonna do it. But there is little reason to have anybody hard at work in a sub trainer unless they, at some point, are going to serve aboard a boat. Just sayin’.

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  • http://nextnavy.com Craig Hooper

    COB–you may be right. Interesting choice to provide that composition for the photog, but that is the way one sets the stage for changing community perception.

    Adam Ek– An all female sub team would be a very interesting, high-profile gambit by the IDF. It certainly would raise the profile of the subs a bit, and, in the Med (and elsewhere) a lot of Navies working extra-hard to detect that sub team, earn some macho cred, and then, perhaps, plead for a date with a member of the crew!

    PR-wise it would be fascinating, though.

  • Adam Ek

    Ten teams, what if a few of them are all female?

  • CoinOperatedBoy

    Much more likely is that the female in the photo is an instructor. Plenty of IDF units, including elite all-male ones, have female instructors teaching skills like marksmanship and parachuting. It’s traditionally been a way for ambitious female recruits to go through more intensive training and be associated with units they wouldn’t otherwise be able to join.

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