The Russian Ministry of Defense has just decided to make an unusual purchase and it involves five dolphins. However, the country seems to keeping mum as to why they need the marine mammals. A report suggest the nation could be bringing back its military dolphins that can sniff enemy submarines which were last deployed during the Cold War era.
The ministry shall be purchasing the animals for $26,000 or about $5,200 per dolphin. Moreover, the sole bidder for the procurement was Moscow’s Utrish Dolphinarium as it put a contract to supply the dolphins out to tender. As part of the agreement, the dolphinarium would supply two female dolphins and three male dolphins that are aged 3 to five years old. As far as specifications go, the ministry says that dolphins should have “all teeth intact… [and] no mucus from the blowhole.”
According to a report from NBC News, the five dolphins are scheduled to be delivered to Sevastopol in Crimea, a part of the Ukranian peninsula that was annexed by Russia back in 2014. There is a Ukranian military dolphin training facility in the region.
According to a report from the Daily Star, Russia’s purchase of dolphins is reminiscent of the Cold War era. At that time, Russian trained dolphins to differentiate between Soviet and foreign submarines based on the sounds of their propellers alone. The nation, however, was forced to sell their military mammals to Iran due to budget constrained.
President Vladimir Putin’s purchased of the dolphins was made at this point when there are heightened tensions between Russia and the United States and NATO. Russia has always been a foe by US and NATO since the Cold War era in the same way that Russia viewed US and NATO as top security threat against the nation. Political analysts has kept on talking about the danger of a World War 3 becoming apparent everyday.
Dolphins are no strangers to engaging the enemy when it comes to military battles. Back in the 1960s, dolphins were deployed to detect enemy warships and torpedoes by both the Soviet Union and the United States. Moreover, dolphins have also been known to clear mines ahead of coalition vessels during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
According to a report from the Business Insider, dolphins were also deployed by the U.S. Military in Bahrain during the Tanker War. Their mission was “to protect the Third Fleet flagship anchored in Manama Harbor.” These animals also provided additional security during the Republican National Convention back in 1996 as it was done near the water just a month after the bombing of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, special operators such as the Navy SEALs are also no stranger to their dolphin comrades. In fact, in the book “American Sniper” written by the late Navy SEAL operator Chris Kyle, Kyle talked about the Navy testing a program for harbor defense as these mammals actually proved to be quite the lethal fighters. According to Kyle, “The dolphins would come out and beat the shit out of us. They were trained to hit in the sides, and they could crack ribs.”
Russia, however, said it has no plans to train the said dolphins for any military purpose. Instead, they are reportedly meant to be used for psychological and stress therapy.