It’s just a couple of squiggly lines on a screen right now, but the potential behind DARPA’s latest mad science is both frightening and awesome.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, best known as the Pentagon’s military lab, has debuted a project it calls EXACTO – the first ever guided .50 calibre bullets.
You read that right. Guided bullets.
Guided missiles are easier to comprehend, given their ability to carry on-board computers and communication systems.
Frustratingly, DARPA aren’t too keen to share the details of how EXACTO (Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance) bullets hit their targets, citing only the use of an “undisclosed guidance system”.
They did provide this not-so-helpful picture of said bullet:
“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,” it said.
It’s effective – watch:
“For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavorable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology,” DARPA said.
“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.”
The .50 calibre round is used in the US military’s M107 rifle, which can take out enemy targets at 2000 metres.
The self-guided bullet pushes DARPA’s military developments ever closer into the realms of video games.
Another release this week was notice it was working on a project called Squad X, which utilises sensors and streaming full-motion video to help troops become more aware of their situation in combat.
The picture below shows hows Squad X would share information between troops on the ground and with incoming and current military intelligence about their situation.
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