The US Army has revealed testing of a revolutionary self guided bullet is at an advanced stage..
The latest trials of the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, known as EXACTO, program have shown even first time users can hit a moving target.
The bullets have a real-time guidance system to track targets, and can change their course if needed.
An experienced shooter using the technology demonstration system repeatedly hit moving and evading targets in the latest trials.
Additionally, a novice shooter using the system for the first time hit a moving target.
The video shows EXACTO rounds manoeuvring in flight to hit targets that are moving and accelerating.
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 can impede successful hits.
‘True to DARPA’s mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target,’ said Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager.
‘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.’
‘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 system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target, allowing the bullet to change path during flight to compensate for any unexpected factors that may drive it off course.
According to the video, EXACTO is being developed by Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, with funding from DARPA. Teledyne is a research and development firm based in Thousand Oaks, California.
Teledyne was awarded a contract worth $25 million in 2010 to develop EXACTO.
According to DARPA’s release, ‘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 impede successful hits.’
DARPA says that the bullet created by the project will improve the range of snipers, and improve troop safety as they will be able to shoot and neutralize a target from further away.
Currently, US Snipers are expected to be able to hit a target 600 meters away, 90 per cent of the time. With the advent of EXACTO, an increased range to 2,000 meters is promised.
Despite DARPA’s claim that EXACTO is the first bullet of it’s kind, in 2012, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin named Sandia National Laboratories, which does research and development with the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, claimed to be developing their own self-guided bullet.
Sandia’s bullet uses lasers for guidance, as opposed to EXACTO’s onboard computer system (the specific working of EXACTO are classified.)
According to Sandia’s website, additional development is needed before a full prototype or test can be performed. However, unlike EXACTO, Sandia plans to make their bullets available to law enforcement in addition to the military.
According to DARPA, the next phase of the development of EXACTO is to refine the accuracy and performance of the technology.