In a story straight out of science fiction, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed a new kind of bullet – one that guides itself to a target even if that target is moving and does so with deadly accuracy.
DARPA calls it the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance (EXACTO) program and an advance version of the self-steering bullet has shown increased hit rates for difficult, long-distance shots and the latest round of live-fire tests in February are the most successful to date.
One would be satisfied if an experienced shooter could aim and fire the “technology demonstration system” and repeatedly hit moving and evading targets but the round works with novice first time shooters as well.
Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager said in a press release that:
“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.”
According to DARPA findings, “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.”
The EXACTO round improves the range and accuracy of snipers systems beyond the current state of the art, will achieve the goal of improving sniper effectiveness and troop safety by increasing shooter standoff range and shortening time to target.
The program from the Pentagon’s research arm is a major innovation in rifle accuracy and if ever made public would bring hyper-accuracy to hunting rifles.