We have all heard of heat-seeking missiles and advanced targeting systems for the larger ordnances. But is it possible to guide the path of a sniper bullet? The US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has just demonstrated it to be so. Visuals from DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) programme’s live-fire tests in February show that the bullet adjusted its trajectory to hit targets that were moving and accelerating—and the shooters included both marksmen and rank novices.
Though the exact specifics are classified, one clue about the superiority of the EXACTO technology is that it has been fitted into a 0.50 calibre size. The calibre is key not just because it demonstrates EXACTO’s efficacy at such a small size, but also because, for American military snipers, it is one of the most commonly used calibres of ammunition. With a 100% accuracy range of 2,000 metres—snipers could hit targets at a range of 2,000 metres, but not consistently—the EXACTO guidance system compensates not just for the lacking of the shooter’s marksmanship but also factors in weather conditions that might push it off course. If inducted for use by the US armed forces, it would vastly improve soldiers’ chances in stand-offs in difficult terrain conditions, a blog in The Washington Post notes.