Norwegian fishermen spotted a Beluga whale on April 29th that appeared to be wearing some type of harness. The whale also appeared to be tame and came right up to the boat, evidently looking for the humans to feed it. The harness it wore carried a camera mount that had “Property of St. Petersburg” written on it.

The Russian military has been alleged to work with Beluga whales and, during the Soviet years, had a program that trained dolphins. Some claim the program was lethal, outfitting the dolphins with a mask that would fire some type of projectile when the animal rammed enemy divers underwater.

While it is certainly possible the Beluga whale spotted off the coast of Norway was outfitted as a Russian intelligence collection platform (as strange as that sounds), it seems somewhat unlikely if this was the case that the animal would be fitted with a harness declaring it to be property of the Russian government. That defeats the purpose of plausible deniability. It could be the whale was simply fitted with a camera for filming a Russian nature special or some kind of study conducted by marine biologists.

It may also be useful to take a look back at American programs that use dolphins and sea lions to conduct underwater reconnaissance. One such program is called MK 6. From a previous article that appeared on NEWSREP:

In the Fleet’s Operational Marine Mammal Systems (MMS), the Navy uses dolphins and sea lions to find and mark the location of underwater objects.

Dolphins are essential because their exceptional biological sonar is unmatched by hardware sonars in detecting objects in the water column and on the seafloor. Sea lions are used because they have very sensitive underwater directional hearing and exceptional vision in low light conditions.

Both of these marine mammal species are trainable for tasks and are capable of repetitive deep diving.

Some of the objects the animals find are expensive to replace. Others could present a danger to Navy personnel and vessels. The dolphins and sea lions work under the care and close supervision of their handlers and are generally trained for a particular operational capability called a “system.”