The Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has developed a new type of bullet that can change direction after it has been fired from a standard weapon. In a series of posts on its websites, the agency announced that following years of intense research and trials, it is now finally confident that its newly developed bullet can be used by snipers to change direction and accurately hit fast-evading targets.
Jerome Dunn, the Programs Manager for DARPA, said that the new development ushers in a new era for military snipers working under tough conditions.
‘The development of this new type of bullet into a typical 0.50 calibre is a great achievement and may be used as a basis for the development of guided projectiles in the future,’ he added.
The new bullet has been developed under the EXACTO (Extreme Accuracy Task Ordnance) program, an ambitious program run and managed by DARPA that sought to develop a high-tech bullet that could be guided using sophisticated optical guidance system in real time to change direction after it has been fired from a standard weapon.
Since its inception back in 2014, EXACTO has gained tremendous popularity. The first demos that were conducted back in 2014 showed how the bullet, which was still in the early stages of development, could accurately change direction and follow an accelerating target.
Later in 2015, DARPA carried out tests in which the bullet was fired from standard weapons. The results of the live fire tests showed that the bullet could be accurately guided while in flight using highly sophisticated optical guidance system.
According to DARPA, the essence of the program is to help military snipers working under tough situations to hit their targets with a high degree of accuracy.
‘Snipers have to engage targets more accurately and faster to avoid exposing the location of the military by firing missing bullets,’ the agency posted on its website.
It appears that the new type of bullet has been designed to help military snipers who, while working in hostile terrains like those found in Afghanistan and other countries, often have to grapple with winds, wild terrain and bad weather when engaging with their targets.
Also, EXACTO believes that its new development will serve as a foundation for the development of future ‘SMART’ rounds of all types. DARPA believes that it is possible to build sliding projectiles in the future using the current innovation.