Skip to comments.Rats may be cheaper alternative to IED-seeking dogs.
Posted on 08/26/2012 3:35:17 PM PDT by managusta
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan For centuries, rats have been cursed for spreading diseases and scavenging through garbage, but the Army hopes they can become unlikely heroes by using their sensitive snouts to sniff out land mines and improvised explosive devices.
This summer, the Army awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer award of at least $519,000 to Barron Associates Inc., of Charlottesville, Va., to develop Giant African Pouched Rats otherwise known as Gambian Pouched Rats to find explosives.
The Rugged Automated Training System program is sponsored by scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in collaboration with engineers at the U.S. Military Academy and Fort Leonard Woods Counter Explosives Hazards Center.
I think rats do a pretty good job finding mines, said Micheline Strand, chief of the Life Sciences Division at the U.S. Army Research Office, part of U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Theyre pretty smart animals.
These rats can go places a dog cant and have a sense of smell believed to be better than that of a dog. They are light about 2-3 pounds but that doesnt necessarily mean they will trigger fewer IEDs.
Youd rather have a rat blown up than your soldier, Strand said.
Rats are being used to hunt for mines and explosives in Africa, but the training costs more than $10,000, which is still a fraction of the cost to train a dog, and takes two years out of the animals average 8-year lifespan"
If the training can be automated, it would erase the need to develop a bond between handler and animal, so the rats could become standard issue for soldiers. If costs are lowered, they could be sent downrange en mass, to fit in every backpack.
The question is, can we automate it and make it cheap? Strand said.
(Excerpt) Read more at stripes.com ...
They’re going to use Democrats to find IEDs? Seems a bit cruel.
How about trial lawyers?
shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, he's very sensitive about his ears.
Technical problem. It has only been proven that their sensitive sense of smell works for smelling money. There's no indication that they can be trained to smell anything else.
Takes too long to train 'em.
Rats are smarter.
I like the Idea of using democrates, finally we find some use for these useless idiots
I just looked them up. They’re native to Kenya.
Cruel? Mebbe, But in the immortal words of John Candy: “I’m all for it, of course!”............
I have been vindicated!
Not that there's anything wrong with it.
It's too much like a J-O-B.
The only problem with rats is that they only live 1-3 years. Domesticated rats can be very friendly and actually take orders.
Oh BWHAHAHA!!! I’m LMAO at you people, I’m not even going to try and come up with any funny one liners, I tip my hat to all of you! ;)
aw crap a double post. How’d I do that? I blame the rats.
Not sure where the cruelty part comes into play. IEDs don't have feelings.
You were tlaking animal rats not political Rats. Because I wouldn’t trust the later.
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