Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Science Applications International Corp. has received a one-year, $13.9 million contract to provide animal care, training and maintenance of marine mammals in the Navy Marine Mammal Program, the Pentagon announced.
The Navy Marine Mammal Program, which began in 1959 and has been headquarted at Point Loma in San Diego since the 1960s, trains bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions to detect, locate and recover objects in water -- particularly mines and other potentially dangerous objects that are difficult to detect with electronic sonar.
Using dolphins' superior sonar and both species' low-light vision and underwater directional hearing -- as well as their ability to dive to depths that would give human divers decompression sickness, the Navy is able to track undersea targets and detect potential maritime threats.
The contract funds work through Jan. 26, 2021.
The contract includes four one-year option periods that, if exercised, would bring its overall potential value to $73.3 million.
Fiscal 2020 funds using Navy working capital funds are obligated at the time of the award and will not expire at the end of the year.
More than half the work on the contract will be performed in San Diego, with some work being performed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, and Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Wash.