The U.S. Navy had planned to include dolphins in the upcoming training exercises planned for the Black Sea. Tom LaPuzza, spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s marine mammals program, confirmed those plans for the Mail Online.
Ukraine had its own fleet of military dolphins that were located in Crimea. When Russia annexed Crimea, they also got the dolphins. The Russian newspaper Izvestia went as far to suggest the Russian and U.S. dolphins could meet meet in the Black Sea this summer.
The U.S. Navy uses the dolphins to hunt mines, find intruder swimmers and disrupt enemy sonars. Russia uses the dolphins in the same manner. Along with dolphins, the two countries have also trained seals as part of the program.
The U.S. started its military dolphin program more than 50 years ago. The U.S. Navy currently has at least 75 dolphins trained in its program. It’s official name is the Navy Marine Mammal Program and it’s based in San Diego, Calif. It was classified up until the 1990s.
U.S. officials plan to close the program in 2017 and replace the dolphins with robots — specifically General Dynamics’ Knifefish.