It may sound like something straight from a movie, but DARPA has unveiled and tested EXACTO, a self-guided .50-caliber projectile that can change its flight path in mid-air. The EXACTO (Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance) project aims to develop “more accurate military artillery that will enable greater firing range, minimize the time required to engage with targets, and also help reduce missed shots that can give away the troops’ location.” The new .50 BMG gun and improved scope could employ “fire-and-forget” technologies including “fin-stabilized projectiles, spin-stabilized projectiles, internal and/or external aero-actuation control methods, projectile guidance technologies, tamper proofing, small stable power supplies, and advanced sighting, optical resolution and clarity technologies.” Its estimated availability is 2015.Continue reading for a video of it in-action and more information.
Exact technologies used in the bullets were not revealed, but the EXACTO uses a real-time optical guidance system with no visible fins or other steering mechanism on bullet illustrations. Footage released showed the rifle intentionally aiming off target so the bullets could correct their flight path. EXACTO technology is claimed to markedly extend the day and night-time range of current sniper systems.