DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has developed a new type of bullet, EXACTO, which is self-guided and can actually change direction mid-flight, moving around obstacles and giving snipers a decisive tactical advantage.
According to IFLScience, the EXACTO (Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance) bullets function in the same manner as laser guided bombs, which were first developed during the Vietnam War. A real-time guidance system is married to the.50 caliber bullets, allowing them to change direction in order to compensate for anything that may throw them off course.
Each EXACTO bullet has an optical sensor on its nose that collects data in-flight, sending it to internal systems. After the data is interpreted, it is used to adjust a set of external fins on the bullet, altering the projectile’s course. Unlike traditional ammunition, the EXACTO bullet has no spin, instead flying toward its target in the same manner as a dart. According to the Daily Dot, each bullet is equipped with an eight-bit central processing unit that can control its electromagnetic steering systems.
— Bill Christensen (@Technovelgy) December 16, 2014
As the Tech Times points out, the EXACTO program was tasked with developing bullets that would allow for more accurate artillery and a greater firing range. The program also aims to reduce the amount of time required to engage with the enemy, allowing for snipers to reduce the chance of revealing their location.
The EXACTO bullets were tested earlier this year, as the Inquisitr previously reported, and DARPA has since released video of the successful trials. In a statement accompanying the video, DARPA officials codified the rationale behind the EXACTO program.
“The objective of the EXACTO program is to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet,” they said.
“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.”
DARPA releases video of state of the art guided, 0.5 calliber bullet System, EXACTO via /r/videos… pic.twitter.com/AW0pZkeQ0S
— Reddit Subreddits (@subredditsbot) December 16, 2014
DARPA suggests that EXACTO bullets will be particularly helpful to soldiers facing adverse weather conditions or terrain. As an example, they point to a battlefield such as Afghanistan, challenging territory for a sniper due to high winds and dust, as an arena where EXACTO bullets could make a serious impact on performance.