SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian navy has restarted a program training dolphins for military duties, including attacking enemy combat swimmers, a Ukrainian military official said.
"Ten dolphins are now being trained for special tasks in the Ukrainian state oceanarium, and the Ukrainian military are regularly training the animals for detecting things on the seabed," the military official, whose name was not reported, told RIA Novosti Thursday.
Dolphins have been training the Ukrainian naval port of Sevastopol has far back as 1973 for tasks including finding military equipment such as sea mines on the seabed and attacking divers, RIA Novosti said.
When the USSR broke up, the unit that trained the dolphins for military duties was instead trained for civilian tasks such as working with disabled children.
The unit will now be training the dolphins to defend Ukrainian vessels.
"We are now planning training exercises for counter-combat swimmer tasks in order to defend ships in port and on raids," the official said.
Several exercises have already been carried out this year with the dolphins finding underwater weapons, both in the aquarium and outside it.
"The mission was successfully carried out. Our dolphins found the items and attached devices to them which were fixed on their heads, after which a buoy on it was sent to the surface to mark it," the official said.
The dolphin training facility in the Ukraine is only one of two in the world, the other being in San Diego.