Flipper Can Find It: US Navy Uses Dolphins to ‘Sniff’ for Mines

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Dolphin with mine marker(click to view larger) Just as the dog’s keen sense of smell makes it well suited to detect land mines, so the US Navy has found that the biological sonar of dolphins, called echolocation, makes them effective at locating and marking sea mines. To take advantage of these skills, the Navy Marine Mammal Program studies, trains, and deploys dolphins, as well as sea lions, to carry out various underwater tasks for the Navy. As part of the program, the Fleet’s Marine Mammal Systems (MMS) use dolphins and sea lions to find and mark the location of underwater objects… Sea Lion patrols under pier(click to view larger) The mammals perform mine hunting and marking, force protection, and object recovery tasks under the MMS. There are 5 MMS and they are designated by the letters MK. MK 4, MK 7, and MK 8 use dolphins, MK 5 uses sea lions, and MK 6 uses both sea lions and dolphins. * MK 4 – dolphins are used for detecting and marking the location of sea mines that are tethered off the ocean bottom. MK 4 offers mine detection, classification, and marking capabilities in areas that are highly cluttered or where […]

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