[credit provider=”U.S. Army via flickr”]
The Department of the Army opened bidding today for new K-9 Body armour (via dangerroom). Called the Caninine Protection System, the vest must be compatible with the harness and camera currently worn by military dogs, and it must be able to stop a 7.62x39mm bullet at 25 feet.
The 7.69mm round is used in AK-47’s and SKS Carbine rifles, both common in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Current estimates put about 700 dogs, divided up between military branches, working for the U.S. military in the Middle East.
The dogs are split into four categories of service:
- Scout dogs: Used to sniff out enemy personnel and booby traps
- Combat tracker: Part of a three soldier team used to track enemy personnel. It can take up to 260 days to train a dog to track properly. Combat tracking dogs are often Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers.
- Sentry dogs: Used to alert military security personnel. A guard dog.
- Mine detection dogs: A job so stressful the dog can only work 20-30 minutes and their “useful service” time is minimal
K-9’s have become so relied upon in the U.S. military, job designations have been developed specifically for the care and handling of the animals.