IAF Canines to Identify Explosives IAF Canines to Identify Explosives Coming soon to the IAF Canine Training Academy: explosives identification. Dog will be trained to identify explosive substances. “We train these dogs to help us prevent tragedies”

Shir Cohen

The IAF Canine Training Academy located in Hatzor Airbase is currently working to develop an explosive device identification division. These days, the dogs operate as infantry fighter’s assistants around different airbases. In a short while, the soldiers will partner up with dogs trained to identify dangerous explosive devices. “We train these dogs in order to avoid horrific tragedies. They examine every vehicle, open field or aircraft we have to pass through”, says Yosef (Pico) Leon, one of the establishers of IDF unit “Oketz”, who has been accompanying the project.

Until now, the Canine Training Academy of Hatzor airbase has certified the various attack and tracking divisions as part of the ground defense formation, in an effort to protect the force’s bases, events and tours. Although the new division is experimental, new trainees will require many advanced training sessions. “Connecting with a dog to a point where you can expect him to consistently operate in the desired manner takes a lot of hard work”, says Anat Bugushiko, a trainer in the new division. “We are dealing with countless hours of training during which the dog gets an idea of what’s expected of him”. The new division is overseen by experienced “Oketz” dog trainers and the commander of the IAF Canine Academy, Master Sergeant Yoni Swartz. “If we want this project to be a success, we need a lot of ambition and commitment”, explains Pico. “Every journey begins with a step, and we are already taking our third”.