Chinese Military Dog Undergoes Training in Tandem Skydive to Become First-ever Canine Paratrooper
Image for representation. Credits: AFP.
Whether it is a two-legged human or a four-legged canine, soldiers need to pass certain tests to become certified for operations. A dog named Ding Dang in the Chinese army has begun the process to become their first-ever canine paratrooper.
Ding, a German Shepherd, is currently serving in the Airborne Corps of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force. He has successfully completed the training session of tandem skydive as befits a paratrooper. In a video released by a Chinese broadcaster, Ding can be seen performing a skydive as he is strapped and harnessed securely to his handler’s chest.
The video begins with multiple shots of Ding sitting, sleeping, and strolling or running across the military base with his handler. He is later shown being prepared for his experience as his handler holds him and then swings on ropes on the ground. Then, he is suited-up in the appropriate gear as befits a paratrooper and loaded onto the aircraft already attached to his handler.
Then comes the heart-dropping moment when his handler jumps from the base of the aircraft, Ding secure and close to his chest. He opens up the parachute soon. He breaks the falls on his toes and calves and the duo land safely, the dog still in his handler’s lap.
While in the air, we get brief shots of Ding looking down on the ground. However, he is wearing protective gear around his face to shield his eyes. He remains incredibly calm throughout. The hope is to train him well enough so that he can be certified as a paratrooper soon, according to Dailymail. The PLA hope to train dogs so that they can be dropped along with human paratroopers for special operations. Paratroopers are specialised parachute expert officers; their skills come in handy for battle, distribution of resources, or even search and rescue at times.
Though it may sound unusual, Ding is not the first canine-paratrooper in the world (though he is first in China). British Special forces used German Shepherd paratroopers in Afghanistan during a 2010 hunt for Taliban insurgents. Though it is reported that at eight animals were killed in this unique operation, according to the Guardian.
In 2014, a dog who had formerly featured on National Geographic magazine cover was selected to test specialised canine vests in the USA and made to skydive for the same. The dog was a three-legged injured veteran who had been in Afghanistan as well.