The US Navy has trained dolphins to detect underwater mines since 1960.
Last week the Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi denied that Iran had threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz – a crucial 54km wide strait through which Gulf countries export petroleum – but the United States press has been abuzz with reports that oil exports are in jeopardy.The Atlantic Wire recently reported that instead of dispatching a heavily-armed military arsenal in defense, the U.S. Navy is poised to send in a pod of mine-detecting dolphins. If this happens, it will be their 3rd tour of duty in the Persian Gulf.
The U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program began in the 1960s but was classified until the 1990s, raising suspicions that the dolphins were being trained to perform sinister tricks, but the navy denied those claims.
After extensive study, it was discovered that dolphins have an incredible biosonar that allows them to detect metal objects from great distances. Sea Lions have also been used by the navy because of their superior vision.
Should Iran decide to close the Strait of Hormuz by placing mines underwater, the dolphins – equipped with a pinger on their flipper – would scout them out and drop an acoustic transponder nearby that would alert human divers to their location.
The mines would then be professionally disarmed.