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The first guided .50-caliber bullets

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 2:46pm
Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor

Jason LombergSnipers have to take numerous factors into account, including the terrain, weather, wind-resistance, and over long distances, even the curvature of the Earth — at 1,000 yards, the Coreolis Effect will alter a bullet’s trajectory by about .5 moa (Minute of angle). And military snipers have confirmed kills up to 2,707 yd (the current world record). But until now, we haven’t been able to intentionally alter the course of a bullet.

Digital representation of an EXACTO projectile. Courtesy of DARPA.DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program aimed to change that, and in recent tests, demonstrated in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. EXACTO’s special ammo and real-time optical guidance system helps compensate for weather, wind, and target movement, and it also enables the shooter to hit a target that’s slightly offset from the aiming point.

The applications are obvious — a successful sniper shot can be the difference between life and death, and anything that gives shooters an edge can save lives.

According to the EXACTO program page, “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 program aims to “greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems.”

EXACTO is being developed by Teledyne Scientific & Imaging (*cue paranoid ‘Terminator’ allusions*) with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

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