Smart Bullets Can Change Direction Mid-Flight To Enhance Accuracy

Smart bullets are the first ever invented guided bullets than have the capability of changing direction mid-flight. The high-tech ammo is expected to “revolutionize rifle accuracy.” The guided bullets are being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – DARPA. Last week, the government agency released a video showing the guided.50-caluber bullets being field tested. DARPA is the research division of the Department of Defense.

Excerpt from a press released from DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program reads:

“This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is aimed. EXACTO’s specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement, and other factors that could impact successful hit. The EXACTO program is developing new approaches and advanced capabilities to improve the range and accuracy of sniper systems beyond the current state of the art.”

DARPA feels that the EXACTO bullets enable snipers to acquire targets even in extremely unfavorable weather and geographic conditions, such as the rugged terrain found in countries like Afghanistan. “It is critical that snipers be able to engage targets faster, and with better accuracy, since any shot that doesn’t hit a target also risks the safety of troops by indicating their presence and potentially exposing their location,” the DARPA website notes.

Technology development on the smart bullets is currently in the second phase. The stage of development includes finalizing the design, integration, and demonstration of the aero-actuation controls and power sources of the EXACTO bullets. The ammo also has an optical guidance system and advanced sensory capabilities. The next stage of the development of smart bullets included a live fire system level test for the purpose of technology refinement in order to maximize performance.

The EXACTO.50-caliber test was conducted by DARPA contractor Teledyne Scientific and Imaging. The video of the firing of the first ever guided bullet shows it homing in on the target by following a laser beam aimed by the sniper team. “Vanes” on the body of the smart bullet and an attached optical receiver allow the mid-flight maneuvering.

The building a better bullet program began six years ago and was highly classified. DAPRA said during the program launch that the guided bullets could utilize a “fire and forget” technology which include spin-stabilized projectiles, fin-stabilized projectiles, projectile guidance technologies, both internal and external actuation, advanced sighting, clarity technologies, and tamper proofing system.

What do you think about the first ever guided bullets?