Ammunition manufacturer Hornady DGS is marketing its brand of super-cavitation bullets designed for subsurface use. In testing, it has been shown that just a few feet of water is generally enough to stop a bullet. This means conventional ammunition is of very limited use to combat divers and other Special Operations teams while conducting sub-surface missions with SCUBA or re-breather equipment. Super-cavitation is a technique that was designed for submarine torpedoes in which an air bubble is formed around the projectile in order to greatly reduce the water’s friction against its skin, thereby increasing range and speed.
DGS has now developed a line of rifle ammunition called CAV-X. From the DGS website:
Classified as Multi Environment Ammunition – MEA™ – this projectile is effective against submerged targets and targets in the air. Depending on the weapon and the used loading variant, this ammunition is suitable for use in partial or fully-submerged weapons, regardless of if the target is in water or on the surface.
Due to the unconventional shape and significant mass, this round oﬀers great armor-piercing capability against Multi-Layer Structures. This shape is also very effective against targets with fiber structure or mud, even when covered by sand.
This projectile may be offered in two loading variants, A2 and X2, where both enable swimming capabilities.
A series of artists’ renderings show the potential uses of CAV-X ammo by SOF teams, such as combat divers engaging in an aquatic firefight with other divers, a diver shooting out a security camera watching a dock area from concealment underwater, and most interestingly, a pair of combat divers shooting it out with military killer dolphins!
Yes, such military dolphin programs do exist. NEWSREP recently interviewed a retired member of the Navy’s Marine Mammal program who described the Mark 6 Mod 0 program. The program has its origins back in the Vietnam War with the CIA’s sub-surface warfare office where they were working on anti-swimmer devices. Later, the program was taken over by the Navy, specifically Navy EOD. The dolphin’s echo-location turned out to be amazingly good at finding enemy divers and unexploded ordnance. The Russians developed a similar program.
“Takes a million dollars to get a marine mammal to deployment status and a half a million restaurant quality fish to feed them. One animal named Fred or ‘half dead Fred’ in the anti-swimmer program. Had to retrain him. He had an attitude and if he didn’t like you, he’d let you know. Would do tail flips or body slams to splash you. Would snort water at you through his blow hole,” the former member of the Marine Mammal unit told NEWSREP.
As seen in the DGS depiction, the anti-swimmer dolphins could be fitted with a type of muzzle. The muzzle contains a steel lance with a scalpel that would rotate when an enemy diver was rammed, at the same time, releasing a buoy that would mark the location of the enemy diver to sailors above.
These dolphins can conduct underwater recon, find explosives, and as noted, attack enemy divers. During the event of an all-out war, the U.S. Navy may need to break out through maritime choke-points and in this case, military dolphins can act like pathfinders, or underwater scouts, clearing the way for ships.
The Navy is reportedly hesitant about deploying its dolphins in an offensive capability. For instance, dolphins can be trained to attach mines to sides of submarines and other sabotage missions but the problem is, the dolphins cannot determine the difference between American and enemy subs, which could lead to fratricide. The same with the anti-swimmer program, the dolphins will attack whoever they find in their assigned area of operation. The idea that humans with super-cavitating bullets will stop a combat dolphin is kind of funny though. They would never see the dolphin coming.
In training, the anti-swimmer dolphins, “would wait, ram you to the bottom and would hover over you and if you moved again they would ram you again.” In a combat scenario with the aforementioned muzzle attached, getting rammed once would be more than sufficient to kill an enemy diver.