The French Navy’s Triumphant-class strategic nuclear submarine “Le Vigilant” at its submarine base of L'Ile Longue, near Brest, before departing for a mission.
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ILE LONGUE, France: Drinking a bowl of seawater followed by a glass of champagne, four French officers stood out during the traditional "baptism" to mark their inaugural submarine patrol: the first women to join a crew in the country's nuclear-powered fleet.France has become just the third country to bring women onboard its nuclear-powered subs, which operate much longer and isolated missions than traditional vessels, after the U.S. and Britain.The nuclear subs were the last element of the French navy to exclude women, reflecting concerns about the sacrifices required for long missions, as well as difficulties in adapting personnel quarters in such tight spaces.The country's next generation of attack subs, however, are being designed with both men and women in mind.
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