Dolphins are known for their intelligence, exceptional diving ability, and trainability. It didn’t take long for us humans to begin testing these mammals to perform specific tasks, such as the ones we can find on water parks. But unknown to some, the U.S. Navy also saw the potential of these mammals and even created a specific program for it called the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP). The aim is to study the military use of marine mammals to perform tasks such as ship and harbor protection, mine detection and clearance, and equipment recovery.
The program has been labeled as controversial, hence forcing the U.S. Navy to look somewhere else. Just recently, BBC is reporting that the U.S. Navy is ready to replace its military dolphins with cheaper robots by 2017. “We’re in a period of transition. After nearly 50 years, he says, the Navy plans to phase out its Sea Mammal Program and retire its pods of dolphins and sea lions that are currently used to help locate, and in some cases destroy, sea mines,” said Captain Frank Linkous, Head of the U.S. Navy’s Mine Warfare Branch. “In general, we’re looking to phase out that program beginning in fiscal year 2017.”