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There’s no doubt about it, our Navy SEALS are heroes. But, did you know that many of the special operations and dangerous missions they complete might not be possible without the help of specially trained – and specially outfitted – four-legged SEALS? Not only do these amazing pooches sniff out bombs, track human targets, and even parachute from planes into enemy territory, they also save the lives of our servicemen and women by alerting them to hidden dangers.
Military dogs come in all breeds, shapes, and sizes. From a 15 pound West Highland Terrier trained to travel through tiny air ducts to a 250 pound Saint Bernard and every size in between, these hero dogs are outfitted is some really cool custom gear, like the vests made by K9 Storm.
At a cost of $20,000 – $30,000 – chump change when you consider the lives saved by these exceptional dogs – K9 Storm’s “Intruder” vest is bulletproof, waterproof, high-tech, and ultra-lightweight. The vests are bulletproof, able to stop even a 9mm or .45 round from a handgun. And, because our Navy SEALS protect us from air, land, or sea, the vests are waterproof, make use of Kevlar hooks and D-rings for parachuting, repelling, and lifting, and are custom fitted to each dog for maximum mobility.
In addition to protecting the dogs from attack, these vests feature high definition video cameras with night vision and transmission to a receiver kept at a safe distance, even through solid concrete walls and steel ship’s hulls. The handler can see where his dog is going, see what he is seeing, and even voice audible commands to his service dog.
And the entire unit weighs just between 3 and 7 pounds, depending on the size of the dog and the added accessories.
Fast Company reported on the next phase of K9 Storm’s vests,
The next phase of development includes plans for remote-delivery systems and enhanced accessory functionality. They describe a system that would help dogs transport medical supplies, walkie-talkies, or water into constricted areas like rubble. They’re also planning new appendages like air-level quality meters for mines.
K9 Storm, founded by Jim Slater, a former police dog trainer who developed the vests after he noticed during a prison riot that he was protected, but his K9 was completely unprotected, deserves a big kudos for protecting the dogs that protect us.