Skip to comments.Navy dolphins discover rare old torpedo off Coronado (San Diego, CA)
Posted on 05/18/2013 12:13:00 PM PDT by jazusamo
Two trained dolphins surprise Navy specialists with their find: a Howell torpedo, state-of-the-art for its day in the late 19th century. It's only the second one known to exist.
SAN DIEGO In the ocean off Coronado, a Navy team has discovered a relic worthy of display in a military museum: a torpedo of the kind deployed in the late 19th century, considered a technological marvel in its day.
But don't look for the primary discoverers to get a promotion or an invitation to meet the admirals at the Pentagon although they might get an extra fish for dinner or maybe a pat on the snout.
The so-called Howell torpedo was discovered by bottlenose dolphins being trained by the Navy to find undersea objects, including mines, that not even billion-dollar technology can detect.
"Dolphins naturally possess the most sophisticated sonar known to man," Braden Duryee, an official at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific said after the surprising discovery.
While not as well known as the Gatling gun and the Sherman tank, the Howell torpedo was hailed as a breakthrough when the U.S. was in heavy competition for dominance on the high seas. It was the first torpedo that could truly follow a track without leaving a wake and then smash a target, according to Navy officials.
Only 50 were made between 1870 and 1889 by a Rhode Island company before a rival copied and surpassed the Howell's capability.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
This Howell torpedo at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Wash., was thought
to be the only one in existence, but Navy-trained dolphins found another one in the
ocean off Coronado. (U.S. Navy)
Amazing for it’s time.
Yes it is. I’m no military history buff but it’s pretty good technology for that era.
Anyone know who its named for?
Here’s the Wiki write up on it, more info than I thought would be there.
No fuel or engine. Amazing!
The guy on Gilligan's Island?
I would love to see if they could locate the lost Abomb off Tybee Island , GA..
Story in detail @
It’d be interesting to know if the Navy has tried to locate it with the dolphins.
Hah! Sure is.
That museum they mentioned in Keyport, WA is really worth the trip. They have an emphasis on submarines and underwater things, since they're near Sub Base Bangor.
It’s beautiful. Sort of a Jules Verne thing going on.
I agree, I thought of Jules Verne also and James Mason in 20,000 Leagues.
I believe the Navy?/ Air Force? gave up years ago and only private people concern themselves to search.
I have an Ex BIL, Ex Navy friend in the area that occasionally “pittels’ with it.
The goverment frowns on most.
I love this!
A little history. I was interested since my father’s given name was Howell. Little Missouri town. No one in the military so I don’t think he was named after this guy but who knows.