The agency that brought you the Internet has created a self-guided bullet
DARPA's .50 caliber bullets should help snipers remain undetected as they shoot at a target
Computerworld - The U.S. government says it has developed the first ever self-guided bullets that can lock onto a target more than a mile away and maneuver midflight in order to hit its mark.
The .50 caliber target tracking bullets, dubbed Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO), are designed for military snipers, who must deal with changes in wind, light and ambient heat as they fire on a target.
The EXACTO technology is being developed by Teledyne Scientific and Imaging with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which researches new military technologies and is known as a key developer of the Internet.
The EXACTO round and optical sighting technology is expected to greatly extend day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems, DARPA said in a statement on its website. The system combines the maneuverable bullet with a real-time laser-guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target.
The EXACTO rounds, which are accurate up to 1.2 miles, are guided to laser-marked targets and should help snipers work farther away from intended marks, and therefore avoid detection after firing, DARPA stated.
While DARPA claims EXACTO is the first self-guided bullet, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) announced in 2012 that it had successfully fired a prototype self-guided bullet.
SNL's dart-like, self-guided bullet is four inches long and also uses an optical sensor in its nose to detect a laser guidance system that must remain on target for the bullet to track.
The EXACTO technology is now in phase II of development, which includes the design, integration and demonstration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems, and sensors. The program's next phase includes a system-level live-fire test and technology refinement to enhance and improve performance.
"For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavorable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology," DARPA said on its website. "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."
DARPA did not immediately return a request for information about how the bullet maneuvers mid-trajectory.
Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at Twitter @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Emerging Technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- The Growing Demand for Rich Media This white paper discusses how IBM Customer Experience Suite Rich Media Edition can automate rich media workflows, from collaborating with creative agencies and...
- Three Best Practices to Help Enterprises Overcome BYOD Challenges The new Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) environment presents challenges for IT managers and business leaders. This paper discusses how IT managers can address those challenges,...
- Intelligent Imaging for Improved Banking Performance and Profitability A new generation of "Intelligent Imaging" solutions has emerged that is helping banks remove the burden of paper in legacy processes, like loan...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!