We’ve all seen that scene in ‘Wanted’, when a curving bullet causes James Mcavoy to narrowly miss shooting Angelina Jolie? Well, although technology is yet to work out how to give us another Angelina Jolie, it has unveiled a new type of bullet that can change direction mid-flight to successfully hit its target. Yep, science fiction is becoming a reality. A successful prototype of the ultimate “smart bullet” has been tested at around 2,000 metres, which has the ability to guide itself towards a target by changing its path mid-flight. The unique .50-caliber EXACTO bullets are shown “maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is aimed” and mark a revolution in rifle accuracy.
DARPA (the research arm of the Department of Defense) use “specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system [to] help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that could impede successful hits”. The weapons will no doubt be an asset to war zones like Afghanistan, where shots are fired against “moving targets in unfavourable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain”, which significantly affect aim ability.
The bullets surpass previous attempts at assisting aim, such as the six Linux-powered TrackingPoint rifles that the military bought earlier this year. While the TrackingPoint guns calculate affecting factors like gravity and wind, firing only when the rifle is properly aligned, DARPA’s system takes it a step further, aligning the bullet to the target after it has been fired.
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