Military dogs recently parachuted with their Special Forces handlers in military exercises during a training program, in which they plunged 10,000 feet from the sky. The animals were taking part in tandem parachute jumps since they leapt jointly with their handlers from an aircraft.
The Mail Online reports on the canine military exercise devised by one of Europe's biggest military training programs in Norway. One dog depicted in the exercise is part of Austria's version of the SAS. The dogs were part of Operation Cold Response, and joined the British Special Forces and Royal Marines assault teams.
The dogs wear muzzles to prevent mouth damage upon landing, and are securely strapped to their partners while parachuting. Tandem parachuting for dogs and handlers is what the Spanish Army just came up with, according to the report. In trials run in Santorcaz, Spain, dogs and handlers have safely landed with a professional parachutist.
Dogs in the Special Forces exercise are trained in explosives sniffing, tracking, and attacking on command. Two dogs -- both Belgian Shepherds -- did great in the 10,000 feet leaps, says Spanish Army spokesman, Raul Ramon.
"Both dogs were Belgian shepherds. The jump was made from a height of 10,000 feet and the tests proved that both dogs and handler can work properly after the freefall."
In a very similar report by National Geographic in June, a U.S. military dog, Layka, was featured in the magazine for parachuting with her handler in Afghanistan. She's considered a hero dog for saving many members of her team while in combat, despite being shot by the enemy four times. She managed to subdue the shooter, which saved the life of her handler and those on the team. Layka did lose a front leg from the heroic act. Her handler, Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, adopted her.
Layka still participates in military dog parachute exercises while testing a canine parachuting harnesses for ease and safety to assist soldiers in reaching remote locations.
As seen in the pictures, the military dog parachuting is typically strapped in front of his or her handler. One side of the body is firmly against the handler's front during the fall.
Special Forces soldiers depend on dogs for their keen senses and fearless nature to protect during times of war. They help the military detect bombs and other explosives, and retrieve specific objects only they can get to.
What do you think of military dogs parachuting?
[Photo Credit: Mail Online]