The US Air Force (USAF) is gathering data from textile companies concerning privacy screens meant to be installed in B-52 Stratofortress bombers, military.com reported last month. The need for privacy is due to the USAF and US Army attracting more women into active duty roles.
With roughly 40 hours of constant flight, a B-52 crew is likely to use the bathroom on missions. While many Air Force planes already have such privacy solutions, or even private toilets, not all do, according to military.com.A B-2 stealth bomber has one steel bowl behind the cockpit with no walls, and in a B-52 crew members are expected to use a bag if they need to relieve themselves on missions.
This new outlook on the needs of the crew arrived at the heels of other calls for changes, such as women in the air force believing that their uniforms need an improvement, according to a 2019 USAF study. Maternity uniforms were one option researchers came back with, as well as offering a safe space for pumping breast milk if those who serve are mothers of infants.
Roughly one-fifth of those who serve in the USAF (21%) are women.