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Hotshot! Self-guided bullets that NEVER MISS the enemy

July 13, 2014 14:58 IST

Hotshot! Self-guided bullets that NEVER MISS the enemy

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Soldiers with bad aim may get help from a new high-tech sniper-bullet system that can track and direct the bullet to the target.

The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency recently conducted its first successful live-fire tests of the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance programme, which is designed to help military snipers hit targets, even when their aim is off.

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Image: US army sniper takes aim at a suspected enemy observer looking in at Camp Eagle from a neighborhood outside of Sadr City, Baghdad
Photographs: David P Gilkey/Getty Images

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For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavourable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain, is extremely challenging with current technology.

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.

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Image: DARPA's prototype model of EXACTO
Photographs: Courtesy: DARPA
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The 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 programme is to revolutionise 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 sniper systems.

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Image: A US army sniper looks down the scope of his rifle during a mission near Command Outpost Pa'in Kalay in Maiwand District, Kandahar Province
Photographs: Andrew Burton/Reuters
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The system combines a manoeuvrable 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.

Technology development in Phase II included the design, integration and demonstration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems, and sensors.

The programme's next phase includes a system-level live-fire test and technology refinement to enhance and improve performance.


Image: A US marine fires a machine gun at targets, from a Huey attack helicopter during live fire training for the multi-national military exercise RIMPAC at Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii
Photographs: Hugh Gentry/Reuters
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