The international special operations community continues to invest in K-9 training and technology as the capability continues to proliferate across the contemporary operating environment, MILITARY TECHNOLOGY has been informed.
Speaking to delegates at the opening address of the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS) on 28th March, Commander of the French Special Operations Command, Rear Admiral Laurent Isnard called for further development in the use of military working dogs or ‘K-9s’ including provision of specialist equipment and training.
“This area should be developed and we are quite present in developing our dog teams,” he explained “I am reallykeen in getting information and know how, not just about the dog and his handler but also about equipment and training that comes with it.”
Elsewhere, Commander of the Danish Special Operations Command, Major General Jurgen Holl also explained his vision to enhance a similar capability across the various special forces components under his command, including the Jaegercorps and Frogman Corps.
The utility of K-9s has continued to proliferate across the operational environment with applications ranging from direct action missions where dogs are first into a building or compound; through to more specialist hostage rescue operations; and special reconnaissance missions, defence sources explained to MILITARY TECHNOLOGY. Additionally, specialist harnesses are now available to allow operators to insert into areas of operation and target areas by parachute as well as fast-rope rappelling, it was explained.
A range of technology was exhibited at SOFINS to further enhance the capability of K-9s in support of the full spectrum of special operations. Options include Tactical Electronics’ K-9MC4 Back Mounted Camera as well as a Chest Mounted Camera.
“Mounted directly to the back of a dog, the K-9 Back Mounted Camera system is designed to transmit real-time video back to the handler. An internal DVR records audio and video directly to an SD card for post operation review and archiving,” a company spokesperson for Tactical Electronics explained.
“The camera also features a light sensitive camera and high output IR illuminator to provide enhanced vision in low light environments. The K-9 Camera is ideal for military working dogs, Police K9, and Urban Search and Rescue K9 teams. The camera neck is spring loaded allowing dogs to manoeuvre through tight spaces or brush without being caught or held back by the camera arm,” it was explained.
The K-9 Chest Mounted Camera provides a similar capability but is attached to the collar of a dog to provide handlers with a “ground level point of view”. This camera is capable of providing up to and over four hours of continuous video, it was explained.
Also illustrated at SOFINS was the Garmin Collier T5 GPS system, providing a tracking solution for K-9s once they have been released by their operator handler.
Other technology exhibited at SOFINS included modular harness systems with integrated cooling packs; K-9 Guidance Systems; and ballistic protection eyewear and goggles.