British special forces are parachuting into Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan with dogs strapped to them, then using the dogs—with cameras attached to their heads—to scout the surrounding area. Yes, you heard that right: Parachuting dogs.
The photos here are of the Austrian Defense Forces, and the, uh, technique (the technique of strapping dogs to your body and jumping out of planes) was pioneered by the U.S. Delta Force, but the Brits having been dog-jumping in Afghanistan since the spring. They're doing HAHO—High Altitude, High Opening—jumps, which means leaping from as high as 25,000 feet and traveling some 20 miles in distance, floating for half an hour sometimes. (The dogs wear those masks to provide them with oxygen, which is in short supply that high up in the atmosphere.) Not that the dogs seem to mind: One of the Austrian dog handlers told the Times of London,
"Dogs don't perceive height difference, so that doesn't worry them. They're more likely to be bothered by the roar of the engines, but once we're on the way down, that doesn't matter and they just enjoy the view," said the dog handler. "It's something he does a lot. He has a much cooler head than most recruits."
Wired's Danger Room compares these soldier dogs to the poor bomb-carrying dogs "recruited" by al Qaeda in Iraq. And like the unfortunate dogs who had bombs sewn inside, the British SAS dogs have sustained casualties: Eight have been killed in combat, despite training to attack humans carrying weapons.