Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, news has emerged that the U.S. military tried to train sharks as suicide bombers.
The secret project - which ran until 1971 - was by Mary Roach during research for a book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans At War.
The project - referred to as Project Headgear - ran from 1958, with trainers hoping to fit a radio control system to sharks.
A monitoring ‘box’ would tell trainers if the shark swam off course, and they could remotely administer shocks if it swam off course, administering low-voltage electricity to the shark’s sides to ‘steer’ it.
Roach said, ‘'The shark wasn’t so much a ‘torpedo’ as a suicide bomber.’
'The shark would simply carry the explosives close enough that the target would be destroyed when the bomb detonated.’
But sharks didn’t make very good suicide bombers, and the project was cancelled, Roach writes. .
‘It’s a system perhaps better suited to land targets and land mammals,’ she said.
‘A pack animal – a donkey, say, or a mule – is accustomed to carrying loads and responsive to simple left-right directional irritants, like bits and spurs. Today of course, the US military has drones to do this work. Who needs donkeys?’