When a Belgian shepherd named Cairo accompanied the elite members of Seal Team Six on their mission to kill Osama bin Laden, people speculated that the canine's gear may have included a ballistic armor vest and some sort of camera. Now a formal Seal Team Six request for a new doggy camera seems to confirm that its four-legged warriors use such equipment.
The single "canine camera kit" sought by Seal Team Six from any commercial company consists of a camera, battery and antenna to transmit images to human handlers, according to the team's formal solicitation from private contractors. The Special Forces unit also wants the package to include a six-way battery charger, a high-impact, watertight carrying case, and a user manual.
Such cameras represent the latest tool for dogs that had relied upon their teeth, strength and speed when fighting alongside humans on ancient battlefields. The Romans equipped some dogs with spiked collars and armor, and the Spanish conquistadors armored their war dogs when they invaded South America in the 1500s.
Modern dogs used by the U.S. military play more of a scouting role by sniffing out bombs, standing guard or tracking human quarry. But they also carry updated protection for themselves and the equipment to better coordinate with human warriors — whether it's during a routine patrol or a stealthy raid targeting a top terrorist leader.
Seal Team Six specifically mentions cameras from Cobham Tactical Communications & Surveillance, an aerospace and defense company that makes cameras and transmitters for everything from human warriors to battlefield robots. But the team makes allowance for other camera brands capable of helping a U.S. Navy SEAL dog carry out its duty.
The request was made under Seal Team Six's official identification as the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group.