US Navy’s Dolphins Discover Howell Torpedo
The US Navy’s bottlenose dolphins have discovered the so-called Howell torpedo off Coronado, San Diego County, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The torpedo has been discovered near the Hotel del Coronado.
Mike Rothe, who heads the marine mammal program, said that they had never found anything like this.
The Howell Torpedo was the first self-propelled torpedo in the US Navy service.
It was conceived by Lieutenant Commander John A. Howell in 1870, using a 60 kg (130 lb) flywheel spun at very high speed (10000 to 12000 rpm) to store energy and drive propellers.
Only 50 Howell torpedoes were made between 1870 and 1889 by a Rhode Island company.
There was only one torpedo of this kind known to exist, which is displayed at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Wash until this one.
The dolphins have been trained at the Navy’s Point Loma facility since the 1960s to find undersea objects, including mines, which the latest technology can’t detect.
An official at the Space Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific said that dolphins naturally possess the most sophisticated sonar known to man.
NavalToday Staff, May 20, 2013