Decoding the Role of Military Dolphins: Insights into the Russian Navy’s Utilization

Recent reports suggest that the Russian military has been recruiting bottlenose dolphins to safeguard the Sevastopol naval base in the Black Sea. 

These highly intelligent and agile marine mammals are being utilized to detect and deter divers, owing to their exceptional swimming abilities and keen sensory perception. 

While the concept of military defense dolphins may initially appear absurd, further exploration reveals the strategic value that these creatures bring to the table, as evidenced by the employment of similar tactics by other major powers like the United States.

According to the UK Ministry of Defence, trained bottlenose dolphins are being housed in pens near the Sevastopol naval base, serving as a deterrent against potential divers.

Recent intelligence suggests a significant increase in the number of these pens, indicating the recruitment of more dolphins for this purpose. 

While they would not engage in direct combat with human divers, dolphins can effectively alert their handlers to the presence of unauthorized individuals underwater. Additionally, they can potentially tag divers for easier tracking and identification.

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Dolphins as Underwater Guardians

Recent reports suggest that the Russian military has been recruiting bottlenose dolphins to safeguard the Sevastopol naval base in the Black Sea.

One of the crucial advantages dolphins possess is their unparalleled swimming capabilities. Bottlenose dolphins can reach speeds of up to 18 miles (29 kilometers) per hour in water, far surpassing the maximum speed of even the most skilled human swimmers at 6 miles (10 kilometers) per hour. 

This exceptional speed enables dolphins to swiftly detect and intercept divers attempting to infiltrate restricted areas. 

Their acute sensory perception, including their ability to use echolocation, further enhances their effectiveness as guardians of the naval base.

Reports suggest that there are currently around seven dolphins serving at the Sevastopol port. 

To facilitate their movement within the base, these dolphins can be transported on specially designed cradles aboard boats. 

This allows the Russian military to strategically position these marine animals in different areas of the base as required. 

The ability to relocate the dolphins enhances their overall surveillance capabilities and broadens the scope of their defense operations.

While the notion of employing dolphins for military purposes may appear unconventional, it is not an entirely new concept. 

The United States has been utilizing dolphins since the 1960s for tasks such as locating underwater mines and marking their locations with buoys.

 This long history of research and deployment demonstrates the efficacy of utilizing marine mammals in military operations. Likewise, the Russians have reportedly been using marine animals, including so-called “spy whales,” possibly for monitoring purposes, since their invasion of Crimea in 2014.

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Source: Science Alert via

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