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By TOM NEWTON DUNN
Defence Editor
Published: Today

DOGS will lead the way in SAS raids after being parachuted in to spy out rebels for troops, The Sun can reveal.

Fearless German Shepherds are being trained to jump from aircraft at 25,000ft wearing their own oxygen masks and strapped to special forces assault teams.
Once down in hostile terrain in Iraq or Afghanistan, the dogs will be sent in first to seek out insurgents' hideouts with tiny cameras fixed to their heads.
The cameras will beam live TV pictures back to the troops, warning of ambushes or showing enemy leaders' locations.
The amazing tactic - on which The Sun has been fully briefed - has been devised to cut down the Who Dares Wins regiment's soaring casualty rates.

Three SAS troopers have been shot dead on raids in Iraq in two years and at least eight seriously wounded.
An SAS source said: "The dogs will be exposed to very high levels of danger on these operations and you never know what's going to be behind a door. Nobody wants to see the dogs get killed but if it's their life or a man's it is obvious which the CO would prefer."
The dogs will be used in a highly-skilled technique called High Altitude High Opening, jumping as much as 20 miles from their targets and gliding towards them for up to 30 minutes.
America's most elite unit the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, commonly known as Delta Force, has pioneered the skills for jumping with dogs from heights over 20,000ft and its instructors have been sent over to 22 SAS headquarters in Hereford.

Dogs were first trained to parachute in the Second World War by the British on rescue missions. But they have never jumped from high altitude, the best way for small groups of men to get behind enemy lines undetected. The dogs have big advantages over soldiers in that they arouse less suspicion approaching targets, can squeeze into tighter spaces and can sniff out booby-trap explosives.
Two have been issued to each of the regiment's four squadrons with troopers specially selected to be their handlers.



We'll bite for Queen and Country ... SAS troopers with dog, circled

The squadrons' job is to hunt down High Value Targets - insurgency leaders and old Saddam henchmen - but they are also on permanent standby to carry out rescue missions for hostages.

In line with special forces policy the MoD would not comment on the dogs. But The Sun was given clearance to run the story by security officials.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/article1447714.ece
 
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