When ever we think of the deadly shot coming out of nowhere with an accuracy that can be absolutely amazing our admiration for that lone sniper goes up a notch. In light of the recent Somali pirates being taken out by Navy SEAL sharpshooters the abilities of snipers are once more in the news.
As good as these guys might be DARPA wants to find ways to make them even more accurate under more difficult situations. At this point there are three active programs under DARPA’s funding that look to add to the sniper’s abilities.
The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance program aims to enable rounds that could change direction in mid-air, account for crosswinds, air density and moving targets. The idea is to be able to dramatically improve the sniper’s range. If EXACTO doesn’t work out though DARPA has another guided-bullet programs such as the one to use lasers to steer rounds to their targets. Think smart bombs meet smart bullets.
Besides trying to improve the firing of bullets and them reaching their intended targets DARPA is also working on an optical system that’ll compensate for variances in the local atmosphere. It involves using thousands of laser pulses investigators are seeking to create a profile of the ‘eddies’ in the air as the light bounces back. The scope, using a series of algorithms, can take those ‘eddies’ into account as the sniper team aims. The hope is that they will be able to increase a sniper teams range to up to 2000 meters and in winds of 40 miles per hour
The aim of the Super-Resolution Vision System to effectively make the sniper invisible. The idea is to use that ‘heat haze’ – the shimmer you see on hot summer days in the distance – to help snipers rather than hindering them. The trick behind this idea it to digitally identify the ‘lucky regions’ or ‘lucky frames’ when a clear view appears and then assemble them into a complete picture. So even if the target is looking right at you they won’t see anything because of the heat haze.
[hat tip to Danger Room]
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