Smart Bullets: Self-Steering Bullets Pass Live-Fire Military Tests

Tara Dodrill

Smart bullets or self-steering bullets, are being developed by the U.S. Military. Progress is reportedly moving swiftly with the.50 caliber ammo equipped with optical sensors. The smart bullets recently passed a series of live-fire tests, according to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency - DARPA.

During the smart bullets testing, trained marksmen have reportedly been able to "hit moving and evading targets" repeatedly. A DARPA statement regarding the self-steering bullets also noted that even a novice shooter using the smart bullets for the first time can hit a moving target.

DARPA EXACTO program manager Jerome Dunn shared details about the military's smart bullets program advancements.

"True to DARPA's mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target. This live-fire demonstration from a standard rifle showed that EXACTO is able to hit moving and evading targets with extreme accuracy at sniper ranges unachievable with traditional rounds. Fitting EXACTO's guidance capabilities into a small.50-caliber size is a major breakthrough and opens the door to what could be possible in future guided projectiles across all calibers."

The guided bullet system reportedly combines a "maneuverable bullet" and a "real-time guidance system" to track and deliver the ammunition projectile to the target - allowing the bullet to change path during flight to "compensate for any unexpected factors" that could alter its intended course. Environmental details such as wind, rain and humidity could impact the flight path of a bullet.

Jerome Dunn also had this to say about the DARPA smart bullets testing.

"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 smart bullet program began about seven years ago was reportedly considered a "highly classified" project during the initial stages. 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 DARPA smart bullets?

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