The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) released footage last week of a state-of-the-art guided bullet system. That’s right, guided bullets.
The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program is DARPA’s somewhat disturbing (depending on which end of the EXACTO round you’re on) effort to develop a .50-caliber bullet that hones in on a target at long range.
The .50 caliber bullet is used in the U.S. military’s largest actively used sniper rifle, the Barrett M82. Six of the 10 longest confirmed kills were with a .50 caliber rifle, the longest was 2,657 yards in 2002. The EXACTO round could increase this effective range, or at least make such long shots more efficient and viable options on the battlefield. This is what a Barrett M82 can do:
“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,” the DARPA website says.
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In the video below, you can see how drastically the EXACTO round redirects to the intended target:
A guidance system locked on to the target sends redirection commands to the bullet, which can change its path with fins much like a guided missle. DARPA has invested at least $25 million into the EXACTO system. If you think EXACTO is disturbing, just have a look at the creepy robots it is developing. Luckily it hasn’t taught any to use EXACTO -- yet.