U.S. and Russian Dolphins May Meet in Black Sea

DolphinForget frigates or destroyers, the next show of force between the U.S. and Russia in the Black Sea could be the fleet of military dolphins trained by the two navies.

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.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • andy

    We should mount a remote Torpedo unit on the back of these Dolphin.

    • muttling

      There was a period in the program when the dolphins were being trained to deliver satchel charges, but it had a minor problem. The dolphins were unable to distinguish between enemy ships and our ships so they were just as likely to hit one of ours.

      • andy

        Since we mount the camera, I suppose we can see and control with the remote to launch the torpedos by the SEAL so it will be safer don’t you think ?

      • ShamWowed

        Hey Muttling you were not by chance attached to this unit were you? I have a friend who was with the unit during the first stages of Iraq 2.0. Anyway, I got to tour the unit while visiting. Pretty cool assignment. I thought the transport bladders were hilarious. Kind of like having an above-ground pool.

  • Connor Cook

    Right, next thing you know we’re training them to fight enemy sea creatures…

  • Sounds like the premise of a SYFY chan original movie minus the Dolphin mutiny!!!

  • tiger

    Flipper vs. Ivan Flippertovich??? LOL

  • tiger

    Flipper leads a hard core team of “Agents of SHIELD” Dolphins bent on mining the Black sea fleet. But then from the Dark deep……. Ivan Flippertovich & his Spetsnaz trained band called “RED FIN,” lie in wait to pounce on the US invaders. Armed with double barreled spear guns & Russian shooting knives. They will make the Black Sea, turn red with blood…….

    Flipper vs RED FIN!!!!! Coming soon………..

  • oblat4

    Saw the editorial in rhe straits times recently about what asian nations can expect from alliances with America. A lot of them are pointing to the Ukraine crisis and saying obviously not much. But in any conflict we will send our pets.

    • ShamWowed

      Yep pets and internet warriors. Can’t wait to hear your war stories!

    • NeoconBrony

      That argument doesn’t make any sense, Ukraine wasn’t our ally. If we tried to make them our ally, the Russians would have invaded a long time ago to prevent us from doing just that.

      • ide

        What do you call US / NATO’s latest plot in Ukraine? The brain dead Neo-Cons are still trying to occupy Ukraine with US/NATO troops despite the spectacular failure of their coup, false flag ops, and all-lying media propaganda campaign in the US and UK.

        Even to this day, these neo-con scums are doing their best to provoke Russia with false accusations and false flag ops.

      • oblatt22

        > If we tried to make them our ally, the Russians would have invaded a long time ago to prevent us from doing just that.

        Ah yea have you checked the news recently

  • deanegilmour

    Wouldn’t it be justification if the dolphins from the opposing navies got together in an undersea confab and made a pac t to interfer with both navies, give them false info, and refuse to do their instructions. The dolphins are probably smarter then their cousin landlubber mammals, homo sapiens

  • Peter

    Just wait until mighty Cthulu hears of this. And awakens!

  • William_C1

    It’s time to escalate to phase 2, unleash the sharks with lasers on their heads.

  • conradswims

    Don’t count on the dolphins to follow orders. There are several pods off Redondo where I swim and they call all the shots. They do as they damn well please.

  • ShamWowed

    Well, good luck to the military folks out there and to those with loved ones serving. Despite the overall hate, discontent, and what I presume to be sexual frustration on this site, I see little directed at the warriors. For the self-proclaimed scientists, engineers, and internet warriors, I look forward to your many contributions that will make waging war a much more efficient and less-costly endeavor. That is if you confine your talents just to the defense sector.

  • protect dolphins

    Those cowards who created and operated these “military dolphin” programs should be criminally charged for animal cruelty.

    • JohnnyRanger

      At the risk of ruining my reputation on this site, I have to agree. Not their fight. They go along without any clue of what they’re really involved in because they’re intelligent enough to be useful, but not intelligent enough to understand that they’re being exploited. Loyal as dogs, except they swim. I would lay down MY life in a flat heartbeat for my country, but this troubles me. And before you call me a vegan tree-hugger, I had a Cuban sandwich for lunch (ham, turkey, roast pork) and a couple dozen wings for dinner (not my finest hour, cholesterol-wise…).

      And despite my dog reference, I have no problem with military working dogs, because I believe that dogs (unlike dolphins, with which I have ZERO knowledge or experience) understand the difference between good and evil, and are therefore better suited to military employment.

      To summarize, my position is that of an uninformed animal lover who illogically attributes human intelligence and rationalization to dogs, but not dolphins. So there.

    • xXTomcatXx

      You clearly have never witnessed the marine mammal program in person. Those lovely animals have it better than any of their cousins in the wild or a seaquarium. They have the best care AND they still get to go out in the wild. To them they’re job is a game of hide and seek. They love to play too.

      • uni

        Utter nonsense. Don’t pretend to know what dolphins like. They don’t know what they are being trained to do, or the risks they will be taking. How much is YOUR life worth? Some fishes for a meal and seek-and-hide for games during the day?

  • hibeam

    The Marine version is covered with tattoos.

    • Musson

      At least the Army version keeps his G#DDAMMED FLIPPERS OUT OF HIS POCKETS!

  • Hialpha

    So long, and thanks for all the fish…

  • UUV Warrior

    The most hilarious part of the article is the last sentence. “U.S. officials plan to close the program in 2017 and replace the dolphins with robots — specifically General Dynamics’ Knifefish.” Anyone familiar with the Knifefish program knows that thing will never meet the reliability requirements.

    • xXTomcatXx

      Have a little OPSEC sense, would ya!

  • Nasties

    And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads. Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done

  • A countermeasure (applicable to both sides) would be to use female dolphins as honey traps.

    • New World Disorder

      So, ….where are you stationed?

  • Justanothertuna

    Oh ow it could be the beginning of the dolphine wars. (kidding)