Parachuting Dogs Join Afghan War

8 have been killed in action
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2010 2:22 AM CST
Parachuting Dogs Join Afghan War
Yelp! It's into the wild blue yonder for this dog and his soldiers from the Austrian Armed Forces, which also runs a canine parachute operation.   (Austrian Armed Forces)

(Newser) – What a difference a dog makes. While al-Qaeda inserts bombs in dogs, UK hounds are packing video cameras and parachuting into the Afghan war zone. British Special Forces troops have been dropping into Taliban territory with dogs strapped to their chests for the last several months, reports the Guardian. The dogs are trained to attack armed people, and at least 8 of the animals have been killed in action so far. "But that would be 8 men," says a source. The technique was pioneered by the US.

British troops jump from as high as 25,000 feet and travel some 20 miles on their way to the ground. The dogs wear masks for oxygen in the high altitude. "Dogs don't perceive height difference, so that doesn't worry them," said a handler for a similar program run by the Austrian armed forces. "They're more likely to be bothered by the roar of the engines, but once we're on the way down, that doesn't matter and they just enjoy the view." (Read more SAS stories.)

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