When most people think of dolphins, they picture the sleek, intelligent aquatic animals we've all come to love, gleefully squeaking and splashing perhaps along the idyllic shores of some sun-kissed isle. But if the Ukrainian Navy has its way, soon those same iconic marine mammals will instead strike fear as gun-wielding soldiers, ready to make short work of any hapless human enemy unwise enough to venture into its murky underwater realm.
Yes. I'm serious. Killer-dolphins.
According to a report from Russia's RIA Novosti, the Ukrainian officials are currently training an elite team of ten dolphin-soldiers to help detect submersible mines, and to combat any potential invading vessels and troops.
The killer-dolphins will be trained to attack enemy combat swimmers using special knives or pistols fixed to their heads, the source said. "We are now planning training exercises for counter-combat swimmer tasks in order to defend ships in port and on raids," he said.
Sure, it seems a bit outlandish (and terrifying, frankly), but using dolphins for naval operations isn't beyond the scope of possibility. In fact, the U.S. Navy has an entire program dedicated to training dolphins to detect ship-disabling sea mines using their echolocation abilities -- still, even they are wary of arming them.
“Since dolphins cannot discern the difference between enemy and friendly vessels, or enemy and friendly divers and swimmers, it would not be wise to give that kind of decision authority to an animal,” states the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program site.
Regardless of whether it's a good idea or not to equip dolphins with guns and knives, those in the know seem rather dubious that the Ukrainian Navy's plan will even work. A former Navy SEAL, who worked with the U.S. mammal training program, tells Wired that while dolphins are quite helpful in some areas “attached firearms to their heads seems far fetched.”
So, ocean-going denizen, it would be a bit premature to start worrying about the threat of killer-dolphins on your next venture out at sea -- unless, of course, you're a mackerel, herring or cod. And if that's the case, you should probably get off the internet anyways.