- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The U.S. military may bump noses with Russia’s in the near future, but it will be dolphins instead of humans trying to find a way to safely navigate through the encounter. 

“The combat dolphin program in the Crimean city of Sevastopol will be preserved and redirected toward the interests of the Russian navy,” state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported in March after the nation invaded Crimea. Now, with the U.S. Navy confirming to the Mail Online that upcoming exercises in the Black Sea will include marine mammals, a dolphin showdown becomes a distinct possibility.

The U.S. Navy currently has 75 dolphins trained as part of its Navy Marine Mammal Program, which is based in San Diego, Calif., military.com reported. the animals are used to identify security risks such as landmines. The program, which was declassified in the 1990s, has been around for more than half a century.

U.S. officials plan to end the program in 2017 and replace the dolphins with robots, military.com reported.

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