In a move straight from a certain (not so classic) 1973 film, the Russian government recently revealed they are looking to acquire five dolphins in an effort to bring back a Soviet-era military program that utilized sea mammals. With plans to use the dolphins in Crimea, the Russian defense ministry opened its bid at $24,000 for two female and three male bottlenose dolphins between three and five years old.
Hoping to procure subjects with perfect teeth and no physical impairments, they hope to have them delivered by August 1 to Sevastopol, according to a public contract document.
While this does sound incredibly strange, it’s been done before, in fact, Russia wasn’t the first country to look into using marine mammals for military purposes. Dolphins were actually used by the Soviet Union and the US during the cold war to detect submarines, underwater mines and even plant explosives.
“Americans looked into this first,” retired Colonel Viktor Baranets said. “But when Soviet intelligence found out the tasks the US dolphins were completing in the 1960s, the defence ministry at the time decided to address this issue.”
Russia isn’t alone in bringing back cold war tactics. The US Navy has been using dolphins and even sea lions – soon to be replaced by robots – as far back as 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom after September 11.