In today’s army, bomb sniffing dogs are more the rule than the exception. And in Sunday’s dramatic raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, a fearless four legged recruit was again right in the middle of the action.
The explosive-sniffing dog was strapped to an assault team member of the Navy Seals most prestigious outfit, Seal Team Six, as they fast roped from Black Hawk helicopters into bin Laden’s hideout in the town of Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Osama bin Laden, 54, the world’s most wanted man, was shot dead during the raid.
Heavily armored hounds — equipped with infrared night-sight cameras — have been used in the past by the top-secret unit.
The war dogs wear ballistic body armor that is said to withstand damage from single and double-edged knives, as well as protective gear which shields them from shrapnel and gunfire.
German Shepherds have been leading the way in British SAS raids in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Wearing oxygen masks, the pooches have been trained to jump from aircraft at 25,000ft, before seeking out insurgents in hostile environments.
The animals will attack anyone carrying a weapon and have become a pivotal part of special operations as they crawl unnoticed into tunnels or rooms to hunt for enemy combatants.
The cameras on their heads beam live TV pictures back to the troops, providing them with critical information and warning of ambushes.
Dogs were also used in the capture of Saddam Hussein and in the killing of the Iraqi dictator’s two sons.