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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

The U.S. Military Wants Bullets That Can’t Miss

Image: Creative Commons.
Image: Creative Commons.

Pretty soon there’s not going to be any excuses for bad shots. There won’t even really be any bad shots in general, not in the military at least.

The United States military is about to get deadlier, with technology that sounds almost impossible. Or at least as much as any sort of technology can truly sound impossible in the 21st Century.

Self-Steering Bullets Are Coming

The U.S. Federal Government has spent much of the last decade developing self-steering bullets. This science-fiction technology will keep soldiers safe on the battlefield by making them more accurate shooters and keeping them further away from their enemy.

After several years of quiet development, The Department of Defense has finally released some information about this project and their tests on self-steering bullets. The future is now. The United States of America possesses ammunition that will latch onto a moving target.

The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance Weapon (EXACTO) is the name for one of a couple of different projects where the American government has been designing bullets that latch onto targets and follow them. According to the BBC, the Department of Defense has been researching this technology as early as 2012. EXACTO is a collaboration between DARPA, Teledyne Technologies, and Orbital ATK.

There is also a similar but unrelated project is in progress by a different executive department. Sandia Labs, under the Department of Energy, has also been developing a self-steering bullet. It is not currently known if other countries around the world have similar projects developing, but it seems like a safe guess. It’s doubtful that any country with the resources and technology to create ammunition like this would ever pass it up. Especially when an enemy country is already developing it.

How Do Self-Steering Bullets Work?

The DOD hasn’t released any information yet about how their bullets will guide themselves, but Sandia Labs has been more transparent. The research company reports shooters will take aim with the help of a laser, and the self-guiding .50 caliber bullets will latch onto the target created by the laser. After they have been fired, the bullets will then guide themselves through the air as they follow their target. The idea is to make it trivial for the shooter to hit a moving target, and apparently, they work.

Because of the clandestine nature of most things related to the DOD and this project specifically, there is not a lot of publicly available information about the tests. There are plenty of unknowns about this project, but we also have more known facts than we had even a few years ago.

The DOD has been testing these bullets recently on moving targets and they are reporting success. They report that they have been testing this technology out on targets that were actively moving to dodge the projectiles, and the shooters were still able to hit the targets.

According to a report from The Independent, these tests show an enhancement in the marksmanship of experienced shooters, but that beginners were also able to hit active targets with exceptional ease. The Department of Defense says that these bullets will make soldiers safer by making them more deadly, and keeping them further out of harm’s way.

Richard Douglas writes on firearms, defense, and security issues. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, 1945, Daily Caller, and other publications.

Written By

Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast, and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller, and other publications.