The United States military has announced the development of a bullet capable of self-steering itself mid-flight to hit a moving target. According to sources, the bullet’s self-steering system is so accurate, even a novice shooter can accurately strike a target.
Time released a video from the Department of Defense’s research agency (DARPA) that shows the self-steering bullet in action. The bullet’s prototype was completed in February, and testing began shortly after. The development is part of DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance program (EXACTO).
DARPA has uploaded videos to their YouTube channel, giving interested parties an insight as to how the bullet responds in real-life scenarios and makes necessary adjustments to hit a moving target. The videos do not give away any secrets regarding how the technology works but does provide proof of its existence.
DARPA is claiming that the tests have been quite successful thus far, and they expect the technology to get even better as testing and further development move forward.
The self-steering bullet technology was developed in an attempt to assist military personnel, such as snipers, better hit a moving target in combat situations. However, the technology could also be used by civilian officers in homeland situations that need the accuracy to bring down a threat.
Since the bullet requires less accuracy by the shooter, the time needed between sighting the target and pulling the trigger is much less. The quicker trigger time will allow threats to be disabled much quicker, and ensure safety in a more expedient manner.
In a video that DARPA released, the self-steering bullet’s accuracy is shown from the trigger of a skilled sniper and a novice shooter. Both bullet paths are then compared to the normal trajectory of a standard bullet. In both examples, the bullet finds its target with perfect accuracy, even when the target is in motion.
Jerome Dunn, a program manager for DARPA, shared how the self-guided bullet allows “extreme accuracy” that would not be possible with a traditional bullet, according to Discovery News.
“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.”
The self-steering bullet is steered by a real-time optical guidance system. The accuracy of the bullet takes conditions such as weather out of the aiming equation and allows the bullet to land where it is intended, even if the target is in motion.
Currently, the self-steering bullet is limited to a.50 caliber weapon. However, it is still considered to be a monumental breakthrough and is expected to work for much larger calibers in the future.
Self-actuators in the bullet control small fins that allow the bullet to change its trajectory and hit the intended target. According to Live Science, the self-steering bullet does not spin like a standard bullet. Instead, it flies straight like a dart. Data about the target is relayed to the guidance system via an optical sensor that then allows the bullet to spin.
It is estimated that the margin of error is a mere 8 inches over half a mile.
The self-steering bullet is meant for military use, not for public purchase.
With so much talk about the danger of guns in a modern society, how do you feel the self-steering bullet will add to the debate? Would it be a positive or a negative?
[Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images News]