Military Review

Man's best friend. K9, or Humanitarian sappers


A mine search service dog from the Marshall Legacy Institute, along with its counselor, helps clean the land of Azerbaijan from mines

More than 700 min types are known. They are made of various materials: wood, metal, plastic, bakelite and even glass. They are light and heavy, large and small, flat and thick, round, angular, asymmetrical, and, moreover, in different colors. The only thing that unites them is the charge of the explosive inside, which makes its detection one of the most important stages of demining.

It has no equal in the performance of such tasks dog nose, also sometimes called a "biosensor." In addition to the detection of mines, dogs are widely used in equally important tasks in determining non-mined zones.

Since 1992, the world's largest non-governmental organization NPA (Norwegian People's Aid - Help of the Norwegian People) has been carrying out the program “Detection of explosives by dogs”, in which it breeds, trains and uses dogs to clean various areas of the world from weapons that can be killed or crippled people, including children.

A dog from HALO Trust is being trained as part of the Colombian government's program to clear the country of mines for the year 2027

Dogs number one

This job is difficult and very dangerous. Dog handlers and counselors entrust their lives to the paws of these animals, or rather to their noses, and over the years 25 no dog from the NPA has been injured. More 500 sapper dogs (called 9 abroad) work around the world, in Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. All existing attempts to replace these “live” sensors with electronic technologies have had limited success. The problem is that the degree of development of smell in dogs is ten times higher than the degree of smell in humans. If there is about 6 millions of olfactory cells in a person’s nose, then a dog has about 225 millions. Such qualities are best suited for the detection of explosives.

The American Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) launched the Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program (MDDPP) in 1999, which accepts public and private donations for the purchase, training and supply of mine detection dogs (Mine Detection Dog) demining organizations in countries affected by this problem. Currently, more 900 sapper dogs operate in 24 countries, and the MLI Institute has donated more 200 such dogs. Since the start of the MDDPP program, MLI dogs have investigated more than 45 million square meters of minefields.

MLI dogs are trained either at the General Training Academy in the State of Texas or at the SMRS Training Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both organizations buy a dog from famous breeders in Europe. Dogs undergo an intensive 3-5 months training course in which they learn to identify the smells of explosives, mainly contained in mines.

Dogs are trained to identify the desired smell and then sit next to each other, signaling the counselor to mark this place. Thus, the complete destruction of explosive items in a given area is guaranteed. The sense of smell and acquired detection skills, as well as agility and size, make the dog one of the most versatile and valuable partners in demining units.

German shepherd from the Russian mine action center at work in the Syrian city of Aleppo

Mine Search Dogs

SMRS are motivated to work because they have close relationships with their counselors, from whom mines receive an award for finding mines. When a dog finds a mine, the leader praises it and gives a reward, usually a ball or a toy. It amuses dogs and motivates to continue the search.

Six MLI-trained dogs were recently transferred to the HALO Trust, the largest humanitarian demining organization in support of the Landmine Free Artsakh initiative of Armenia, which was launched in 2002 to clear the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh from all mines.

After many years of negotiation, a breakthrough demining agreement was reached between the Government of Colombia and the largest rebel group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). In 2016, Colombian President Juan Santos promised that 21 is a million square. meters of Colombian land must be cleared of mines for five years. This complex mission was led by the Colombian army, which in August 2016 of the year formed a brigade for the removal and destruction of anti-personnel mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance that killed more than 11500 people.

The NPA is actively involved in demining in Colombia, along with the organization HALO Trust, which has four mine search teams with SMRS in this country. For the detection of mines, dogs of different breeds are selected, but mostly they are young East European Shepherd Dogs and Belgian Shepherd Dogs Malinois, who have been trained for one and a half years to detect various types of explosives used in mines and IEDs. Samples of these materials are supplied by the Colombian state-owned company Indumil; dogs that often work in dense jungles or on dry sandy terrain need only a few grams of substance to detect.

Dogs can “sniff” more than 400 meters per day, which is 20 times more than a person with a hand-held mine detector can handle; in addition, having a small footprint and light weight, they are less likely to detonate an explosive object. When a similar device is found, the dog stops, sits down and points to the detected object until the leader approaches. After that, the dog receives a reward in the form of a rubber ball. By the way, among the counselors there are a lot of those who themselves have lost a limb during a blast on a mine or IED.

Russian sappers in combined arms clearance sets OVR-2-02 work with dogs, clearing mines historical part of the Syrian city of Palmyra

From Croatia to Colombia and Syria

The Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) has been involved in Colombian demining projects since 2009, and in 2017, signed a memorandum of understanding on humanitarian demining with the Colombian Ministry of Defense, which also provides for the training of SMRS.

In addition to the military operations of the Russian Armed Forces against the Islamic State (IG, prohibited in the Russian Federation), in Syria, mine-search units from the Russian Mine Action Center did their work in 2015, taking part in the humanitarian demining of liberated cities, including Aleppo, Palmyra and Deir-ez. -Guest. By the end of 2017, Russian sappers of the Center cleared more than 6500 hectares of land, 1500 kilometers of roads, more than 17000 buildings and structures. They defused or destroyed more than 105 thousands of unexploded ordnance and IEDs.

In September 2017, a group of 170 demining specialists from the International Mine Action Center were sent to the liberated city of Deir ez-Zor. Specialists cleared more than 1200 hectares of land, 250 km of roads, more than 1800 buildings and structures and neutralized over 44 thousands of explosive devices.

K9 competition

Despite the fact that specialists have at their disposal selective portable induction mine detectors IMP-С2, mobile seekers of wire control lines for explosive devices ПППЛ, portable seekers of non-contact explosive devices INVU-3М and radar devices of subsurface sounding ОКО-2, they largely rely on cynological units.

The dog training center of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation regularly holds the International Loyal Friend competition, which attracts the attention of specialists from Egypt, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Russia. In 2017, five groups of dog handlers, each with five counselors with three German and two Belgian shepherds, represented the Russian side. More than 200 calculations within the 47 teams took part in the qualifying stages of this competition. The Russian cynologists became the winners of the "True Friend" contest in August 2017.

Russian demining group among the ruins of the Syrian city of Aleppo

Dog units get at their disposal the German, Belgian, Eastern European shepherd dogs and Labradors mainly from the 470-center of dog breeding of the Russian Armed Forces. After a special mine training course, counselors should train dogs to detect non-detectable devices, various types of explosives and false IEDs. Special attention is paid to the behavior of dogs in combat conditions. In Armenia, canine calculations are trained in thin air at altitudes above 1500 meters above sea level, training is conducted day and night and in any weather.

Based on their experience in demining in Syria, the Russian military in a relatively short time organized training for Syrian specialists. More than 750 Syrian sappers were trained by experts from the International Mine Action Center of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation at its branch in the Syrian city of Homs. This was told Anatoly Morozov, head of the Center for Mine Action in the Syrian Arab Republic. He added that the Center was organized in February 2017, in the city of Aleppo, but in April it was relocated to the city of Homs. “The skills acquired by the military during training allow them to independently perform mine action. A practical training course lasts a month and a half; at the same time, up to 100 people can study at the Center. ”

The Russian calculation of the mine-searching service and the canine calculation carry out demining on the empty streets of Palmyra

The Russian army uses its rich experience in demining not only abroad. In October 2017, the sappers of the Southern Military District cleared unexploded munitions from the Gvardeets, Kalinovsky and Alpine training complexes, whose total area exceeds 1000 hectares. More than 200 people were involved in this work and about 20 units of special equipment were involved. In addition, for the detection of explosive objects in hard-to-reach places, cynological calculations with mine detection dogs were used.

In December, a UN delegation led by Jean-Pierre Lacroix visited the Russian International Mine Action Center in Nakhabino, Moscow Region. The Head of the Center, Igor Mikhalik, told the delegation about how the methods and experience of demining operations in Syria are used in the educational process. The sappers of the Center showed the guests their equipment and humanitarian demining skills.

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  1. Monarchist
    Monarchist 28 March 2018 09: 06
    I recalled the old Kipling cartoon "Wild Cat that Walked On Its Own", remember when the dog came to the cave and the woman said to her: "You are the first friend" and since then the dog is always and everywhere with a man.
    Dogs for low-mine works were widely used in the Second World War and at the Victory Parade on June 24, they rightfully walked along Red Square. And there are no more dogs at the military parades, and they have the right to go to the parade
    1. thinker
      thinker 28 March 2018 10: 00
      And to me the trilogy "Dog Work"

      The film starred a real police shepherd Jerry Lee. 2 years after filming, the dog was killed during the arrest of the suspect.
      And something wrong with the numbers.
      Dogs can “sniff” more than 400 meters per day, which is 20 times more than a person with a manual mine detector can handle
      1. VictorZhivilov
        VictorZhivilov 31 March 2018 19: 57
        At one time was my favorite series.
        Rin Tin Tin is incomparable! smile
  2. shuravi
    shuravi 28 March 2018 09: 45
    Afghan experience:

  3. captain
    captain 28 March 2018 09: 46
    In the spring of 1982 our reconnaissance battalion (781ORB) worked in Mahmudraki (I can’t vouch for the accuracy of writing). We returned to the base in Bagram. As usual, sappers led by a lieutenant marched in front of the column. A sapper lieutenant with a dog walked in front. The head patrol from the DDR ran along the road to the right and left. 100 meters remained before leaving the village and we relaxed, the tension subsided and the scouts stopped waiting for the BRDM. The sappers went a little further, followed by a tank. Dushmans took advantage of this moment and opened fire. The lieutenant was killed immediately. The guys under fire (let his family forgive me) threw the lieutenant’s body onto the tank and began to jump into the BRDM, the enemy fired from two sides. Landing was done by everyone except the dog. She tried to jump on a moving tank to the lieutenant. The wounded sergeant sapper called her by opening the hatch, but the dog did not respond. The driver of my commander’s BRDM stopped the car, jumped out and began to catch a dog. Caught and handed her into the hatch. Itself was slightly wounded, a scratch, even in a medical unit did not begin to address. A wounded sergeant-sapper cried, then I saw for the first time in my life a dog crying.
  4. shuravi
    shuravi 28 March 2018 10: 08
    Dogs there were not only sappers. You can’t find the best sentinels. Special. for small garrisons.

    Once the commander gathered everyone and gave an order, - Tomorrow the regimental commanders arrive to bring themselves in order, otherwise go like summer residents.
    Well, we tried.
    1. Alf
      Alf 28 March 2018 23: 24
      Quote: shuravi
      You can’t find the best sentinels.

      1. Alf
        Alf 28 March 2018 23: 33
        Even I, the owner, do not risk taking my bone from my Martina.
  5. Antares
    Antares 30 March 2018 11: 07
    symbiotic animals are more than one millennium in humans in the service.
  6. Vladimir_R
    Vladimir_R 31 March 2018 01: 04
    Extremely pleasant and positive article. Let me add something from my extremely superficial experience, the experience of an outside observer.

    Dogs of breeds, in addition to the ones mentioned, are also used - Labradors (the data, like the ones mentioned above, are used because of their amazing qualities, including their balanced nature) and spaniels (data less often, again, because of the nature and structure of the body )
    It is not always that a dog sits next to a detected explosive, a dog can be taught practically everything: some bark at the detected object, some run back and “call” the owner to the discovered object, some occupy a special stance, etc.
    Of course, "terrorists" know the basic principles of the work of service dogs and try to mask odors. I personally, firsthand, have known cases when a dog found explosives literally flooded with a pool of fuel and lubricants - the sensitivity of the dog’s nose is amazing. I have repeatedly heard that the "price" of a dog in foreign currency (for "terrorists") exceeded the "cost" of a sapper, and this does not seem surprising to me.
    It would be interesting to hear about the cynological military units, I heard somewhere that at this time there are certain problems with this, up to the purchase of dogs from abroad. I would like to lose faith in this.
    The article is a plus.
  7. Vladimir_R
    Vladimir_R 31 March 2018 01: 17
    Quote: Alf
    Even I, the owner, do not risk taking my bone from my Martina.

    Very strange comment. Suppose Martina is your first dog.
    Personally, I never tried to take away the bone from the dog, I never needed it, but if I demand it, she herself will bring it to me. I’m sure that dogs live “in a pack” and the dogs should have a “leader” whom she “fears and respects”, this sounds pathetic, of course, but the dog should execute your commands implicitly, whatever they are (of course, this does not apply to puppies, to offspring, although here too, “I'm afraid” is not the correct term).

    It seems to me that you are doing something wrong.
    1. Bad_santa
      Bad_santa April 1 2018 03: 42
      The instinct of the pack in dogs is very pronounced. Even my dog ​​obeys me implicitly, but in all appearance she considers my father more important than me and constantly shows it
  8. Palagecha
    Palagecha 31 March 2018 20: 01
    Dogs ... the whole border rests on them ... it is on them !!! soldier
  9. serg.shishkov2015
    serg.shishkov2015 April 2 2018 06: 17
    they don’t betray animals better than us, they don’t kill just for fun and going to their feline dog paradise they take our souls with them ,,,, value every moment of communication with your beloved animal, because they live less than us ,,, say the men don’t cry, ,,, untruth ,,, simply no one sees it ,,,