Fish Radio

 April 1, 2014                                       

Ukraine combat dolphin Credit:

Ukraine combat dolphin

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Sea creature commando units. I’ll tell you more after this —

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US combat dolphin with gun Credit:

US combat dolphin with gun

The world has been watching as Russia forcibly seized Crimea – it turns out Russia also stole Ukraine’s killer dolphin army, one of only two in the world. The other is with the US Navy in San Diego.

According to reports in The Atlantic and elsewhere, Ukraine’s bottlenose dolphin commando unit is trained to defend ships or attack enemy swimmers with special knives and pistols attached to their heads.    The dolphins can retrieve lost equipment, and identify intruders swimming into restricted areas.  Nothing man-made can ever match the combat dolphin’s sonar ability to find mines, say military leaders.   When they find one the dolphin it swims back; the crew gives it a weighted buoy line or transponder to mark the mine’s location. 

The Ukraine dolphins will join forces with Russia’s Shallow Water Intruder Detection System or “attack sea lion unit.”   Sea lions don’t have sonar, but their keen eyesight zeroes in on objects 650 feet below the surface. Sea lions are regularly used to retrieve things, such as lost military hardware or weaponry.  They also are trained to attach spring loaded clamps on enemy intruders, who can then be reeled in like fish.

 The US Navy has been enlisting dolphins since the 1970s.  They now have a fleet of   75 mine hunting dolphins maintained at a cost of about $14 million a year.    The Navy also trains and uses beluga whales to mark and clamp targets because they can operate in colder and deeper waters.

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