DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. 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 hits.
The EXACTO program is developing new approaches and advanced capabilities to improve the range and accuracy of sniper systems beyond the current state of the art. The bullets independently maneuver through the air after being fired and they successfully hit targets that were over a mile away. The rounds changed their path in-flight, striking targets that were not lined up with the sniper rifles' original aim. The .50 caliber rounds utilize optical sighting technology and a real-time guidance system, allowing them to be used anytime during the day and night. DARPA explains the importance of the bullets noting, "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 ammunition will also be extremely helpful when windy weather or moving targets make accurate shots far more difficult. The entire system is still in the prototype stage and will need to be further tested, but the smart rounds certainly have the potential to revolutionize rifle precision.