Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO for short) is a “smart” bullet being tested at the moment. The bullet is able to change direction mid air, completely revolutionizing the way a Sniper does combat. Since the dawn of firearms, man has only been able to shoot in a straight line and only hit things within their line of sight. An enemy can hide behind a wall for cover. Until now.
According to Darpa (the bullet manufacturer):
The EXACTO system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines. The objective of the EXACTO program is to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet. The EXACTO 50- caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems. The system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target, allowing the bullet to change path during flight to compensate for any unexpected factors that may drive it off course.
Technology development in Phase II included the design, integration and demonstration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems, and sensors. The program’s next phase includes a system-level live-fire test and technology refinement to enhance and improve performance.
For military snipers acquiring moving targets in unfavorable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology. 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.
As of now, Darpa is keeping the technology behind the bullet completely secret. The EXACTO isn’t the first concept bullet to promise to kill around corners, but it is the most promising.