Scientists and the government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are working on a new type of .50-caliber ammunition that will be able to adjust directions in mid flight.
The project is known as the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance program, or EXACTO according to DARPA officials.
Significant features of the new .50 -caliber round tracking bullet include, integration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems, and sensors.
According to the official DARPA EXACTO project website, the “Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines. The objective of the EXACTO program is to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet. The EXACTO 50- caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems. 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.”
According to the EXACTO website the program’s next phase includes a system-level live-fire test and technology refinement to enhance and improve performance.
DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is initially aimed. 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 could impede successful aim.
The EXACTO program is developing new approaches and advanced capabilities to improve the range and accuracy of sniper systems beyond the current state of the art. For more information, please visit the program page at http://go.usa.gov/XmSG.