A DARPA project is seeking to make a new .50-caliber bullet that can change direction after firing.
Objective: Revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first-ever guided small-caliber bullet.
According to a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) statement, “The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines.” Stated more simply, the project aims at making U.S. military snipers more deadly.
Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC in California is developing the EXACTO program, according to the DARPA video.
DARPA officials said in a statement, “The EXACTO .50-caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems.””
The system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile on the target. The system allows the operator to change the bullet’s flight path to compensate if needed.
Technology development in Phase II includes the design, integration and demonstration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems and sensors. The program’s second phase, completed over the summer, provides a number of improvements. Current testing includes a system-level live-fire test and technology refinement to enhance and improve performance.
Criticisms or questions shooters may have about the system:
- Will it entail more gear that sniper/spotter teams will have to carry?
- Can a trained operator’s reflexes change the path of high-velocity rounds accurately?
- How does such a bullet work?
- Development of the round is a tightly guarded secret, so do the knowledgeable shooters at Cheaper Than Dirt! have any guesses about its design?