Dolphins, the highly intelligent marine mammals known for their playful nature, are being recruited by the Russian military to safeguard the Sevastopol naval base in the Black Sea. This unexpected move aims to deter divers from approaching the base undetected.
Recent reports suggest that the number of trained dolphins kept in pens has significantly increased, indicating a growing reliance on these remarkable animals. Although the dolphins wouldn’t engage in direct combat with divers, they can effectively assist by alerting their handlers to the presence of underwater intruders and potentially tagging them for easier identification. Their remarkable swimming abilities make them indispensable for quickly detecting divers who might otherwise go unnoticed.
Bottlenose dolphins, capable of reaching speeds of up to 18 miles (29 kilometers) per hour in water, far surpass the swimming capabilities of even the most skilled human divers, who typically achieve speeds of around 6 miles (10 kilometers) per hour. This impressive speed and exceptional agility make dolphins valuable assets for identifying divers attempting to infiltrate the naval base. According to information obtained by Naval News, there may currently be up to seven dolphins in service around the port, and they can be easily relocated within the base using specially designed cradles on boats.
However, the deployment of dolphins is just one aspect of the defense system protecting the Sevastopol base. The Russians have also implemented an extensive array of anti-torpedo nets, depth charge systems, and rocket launchers to fortify the naval facility. In the event that divers manage to surpass these defenses, they will face the formidable obstacle of confronting the vigilant dolphins.
The Russian military’s use of marine animals in defense strategies is not recent. In fact, there have been previous sightings of “spy whales” that were suspected of carrying Russian equipment, possibly for surveillance purposes. These whales displayed unusual friendliness toward humans, leading some to speculate that they sought human assistance in removing their harnesses. However, nations closely guard the details of such military tactics, and little information is readily available regarding the discoveries made by different countries in this regard.
It is worth noting that Russia is not the only country employing dolphins for military purposes. The United States, for instance, has been training dolphins since the 1960s to detect underwater mines and mark their locations with buoys. The use of dolphins in military operations spans decades, emphasizing the strategic value attributed to these highly intelligent and trainable creatures.
While the concept of using dolphins in military defense may initially seem peculiar, a closer examination reveals its practicality and effectiveness. The fact that two major global powers have incorporated dolphins into their defense strategies speaks to the logical reasoning behind this unconventional approach to safeguarding naval assets.