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Guided Bullets By Exacto From DARPA

Guided bullets are a part of Exacto (Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance), a DARPA project, which recently got a $22 million shot in the arm.


(Guided bullet technology on the prowl)

DARPA spake thusly regarding their hopes:

"[Exacto will] provide a dramatic new capability to the U.S. military," DARPA says. "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. This capability would have the further benefit of providing increased accuracy and range while reducing training requirements."

How is it possible that a bullet could redirect its own course in mid-flight? DARPA does not foretell, it only writes what it wants in a 'request for proposal.' It states that "Technologies of interest may include: fin-stabilized projectiles, spin-stabilized projectiles, internal and/or external aero-actuation control methods, projectile guidance technologies, tamper proofing, small stable power supplies, and advanced sighting, optical resolution and clarity technologies."

This technology may remind readers of the homer from the 1967 novel Logan's Run. In the story, an absolute age limit is enforced; no one can live past 21. Those who try to run are ruthlessly eliminated by men using a weapon that homes in on body heat.

Only a DS man could carry a Gun. Each weapon was coded to the operative's hand pattern, set to detonate on any other human contact. Logan reached in and closed his hand around the big pearl-handled revolver, drawing it free of its snug velvet nest. He checked it; full load, six charges: tangler, ripper, needler, nitro, vapor -- and homer.

SF movie goers may find themselves thinking back to the 1985 movie Runaway, which demonstrated a smart bullet. This handy cross-section should provide some hints for DARPA contractors; see also the notes below on the ID system.


(Smart bullet from Runaway)

The smart bullet was fired from a special gun that could gather a person's unique heat signature; that's how the bullet distinguished its target. (See more images of the heat-seeking smart bullet and gun.)

From Pentagon Shoots $22 Million Into Guided-Bullet Tech; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip and the Logan's Run reference for this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/3/2008)

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