Next secret weapon sniper bullets that chase you

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Next secret weapon sniper bullets that chase you

Imagine if you were a sniper and once fired at your target could guide the bullet to hit. Welcome to smart munitions.

Darpa, the Defense Department's far-out research arm, announced a pair of contracts last Tuesday, to start designing a super, .50-caliber sniper rifle that fires guided bullets.

Lockheed Martin received $12.3 million for the "Exacto," or Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, project, while Teledyne Scientific & Imaging got another $9.5 million.

If the system works, it'll provide a dramatic new capability to the U.S. military.
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The use of an actively controlled bullet will make it possible to counter environmental effects such as crosswinds and air density, and prosecute both stationary and moving targets while enhancing shooter covertness. This capability would have the further benefit of providing increased accuracy and range while reducing training requirements.

"In other words," Danger Room's Sharon Weinberger wrote last year, "it would be the ultimate sniper round."

Darpa won't say, publicly, how far, how long and how accurate they want the new bullets to be all that information is classified. But they will say that Exacto should contain a next-gen scope, a guidance system that provides information to direct the projectile, an "actively controlled .50-caliber projectile that uses this information for real-time directional flight control," and a rifle.
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Technologies of interest may include: 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.

Exacto is one of several projects Darpa is developing to make snipers more accurate and more deadly. The agency has earmarked $7.5 million for a laser-guided bullet program. Darpa gave Lockheed $2 million for advanced sniper scopes that could boost kill rates by tenfold, or more.

If the system works out as planned, it would actually allow snipers to remain virtually invisible, lost in the "heat haze" in between them and their targets. Our own David Hambling called the project the "next war's secret weapon."

By netchicken: posted on 3-12-2008

Further on this topic - Laser guided bullets

American soldiers have been using laser scopes for a long time, to make their shots more accurate. But what if the bullets themselves were steered by lasers, and able to turn on a dime? That's the idea behind a new, $7.5 million Darpa initiative to be a "laser-guided bullet."

This precision-bullet push is meant to "significantly improve first shot effectiveness in engaging distant enemy forces," Pentagon budget documents promise. To make it happen, however, researchers will have to design whole "new guidance technologies, such as compact MEMS-based thrusters" and "initial side-thrust technologies with sufficient authority to move a projectile in flight." In addition, the ammo will need "high stress-tolerant electronics in the guided bullet and new compact targeting systems robust to field operations under a variety of conditions."
By netchicken: posted on 3-12-2008

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