Military Dolphins, will the next cold war be fought between animals in the ocean?

 

 

During today’s review of world news I went to take a look on Ukraine’s situation when, I came along an article on CNN.com that included this beautiful picture. Dolphins have always been associated to peace and friendliness in my mind. Well, apparently these lovely creatures are a very powerful war machine. Ukraine was training these sea mammals to make them part of their military force. Since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region, they are now part of the Russian military.

As CNN reporter Faith Karimi mentioned, dolphins have been trained by military forces since 1960. Our own navy seals in San Diego have some of these intelligent creatures recruited along with some sea lions.

Faith gives on the article an insight on what these creatures can do for military teams all over the world:

Not just any dolphins. These highly trained military mammals detect risks such as sea mines or enemy scuba divers trying to slip through. Sea mines are sophisticated weapons that can sink ships and other watercraft.

Dolphins are a crucial part of open-water security. They detect sounds and objects in murky waters that human beings can’t, making them uniquely effective at highlighting dangers on the sea floor.

This dolphin program in particular has been in process since the 1960s. These creatures don’t just find mines and divers, they also recover inert torpedoes and testing objects used in Naval exercises. They even seem to be helping out in the US fight against terrorism as Kaj Larsen wrote in an older article from the same media. They have even been used in the Irak war.  He even tried to outsmart the animal:

Armed with an inert limpet mine, I dove into the chilly waters of San Diego bay to perform five mock attacks on an experimental Navy ship docked to a pier to see how well these dolphins can find potential attackers in the water.

Both as a surface swimmer and using scuba gear, my experience was identical. I’d progress toward the ship and out of the murky waters of the bay I would feel an aggressive bump — sort of like getting hit by a battering ram — indicating the dolphin had marked me and that security forces were on their way to my location.

Despite all my efforts at concealment, I was an easy target for the dolphin in its natural environment.

Later, I was intercepted by a sea lion who attached a clamplike device to my leg — allowing the security boat to reel me in.

The final score of my day of training in the bay: mammals 5, combat swimmer 0.

While it seems strange that in this digital era, there’s such a seemingly lo-fi approach to guard the Navy’s most sophisticated and expensive assets. But according to Rothe, nothing in today’s hi-tech world can compete with these mammals’ biosonar abilities.

“I hope that one day there is a robot or a UUV [unmanned underwater vehicle] that makes the mammal program obsolete,” he said. “But right now this is the best thing out there.”

If we got dolphins as soldiers, what else could be out there? Maybe Scifi movies are not so far away from becoming real.

 

J.M. Malionn

 

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