According to Time, the Pentagon wants the capability of a “smart” bullet for its snipers, making it their goal of “one shot, one kill” more likely.
The Pentagon introduced the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program which, in part, includes specially designed bullets that track their target and directs the bullet by an optical guidance system.
Fox News reported that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently conducted its first successful live-fire tests of the 0.50-caliber bullets capable of “in-flight guidance.” This means that even if a sniper’s aim is off, the bullets can still reach their intended target.
The highly-classified program began six years ago, Time reported. The original program descriptions stated, “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.”
It is the goal that the new gun is no heavier than the combined 46-lb. weight of the current M107 sniper rifle and its essential gear of ammo, tripod, scope, and slide rules for target calculations.
DARPA stated, “Snipers are unable to take a shot the vast majority of the time because of wind or other weather factors.” It feels the extensive and expensive training of a military sharpshooter could be greatly reduced by a better gun and a better bullet.
Former commander of the Army Fort Benning sniper school, Retired-Army Captain Keith Bell told Time five years ago the he couldn’t wait “to get his hands on a the new bullet”. “The EXACTO would be revolutionary,” he said. “It will more than double our range and probably more than double our accuracy.”
Currently, sniper rifles can consistently hit trucks at 2,000 meters but not human targets. “There’s no limit as far as I can see so long as the bullet is stable. I think 2,000 or 2,500 meters is very attainable,” Bell said. “Right now, anything past around 800 meters is an extremely tough shot.”
Funded by DARPO, EXACTO is being developed by Thousand Oaks, California-based Teledyne Scientific and Imaging. The program aims to revolutionize rifle accuracy.