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DARPA Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance (EXACTO)

Triton

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"Pentagon Shoots $22 Million Into Guided-Bullet Tech"

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What if a sniper could fire a bullet that changed course in midflight, to hit its target? The Pentagon is handing out nearly $22 million to try to find out.

Darpa, the Defense Department's far-out research arm, announced a pair of contracts last Tuesday, to start designing a super, .50-caliber sniper rifle that fires guided bullets. Lockheed Martin received $12.3 million for the "Exacto," or Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, project, while Teledyne Scientific & Imaging got another $9.5 million.

If the system works, it'll "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."

"In other words," Danger Room's Sharon Weinberger wrote last year, "it would be the ultimate sniper round."

Darpa won't say, publicly, how far, how long and how accurate they want the new bullets to be — all that information is classified. But they will say that Exacto should contain a next-gen scope, a guidance system that provides information to direct the projectile, an "actively controlled .50-caliber projectile that uses this information for real-time directional flight control," and a rifle.

"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."

Exacto is one of several projects Darpa is developing to make snipers more accurate and more deadly. The agency has earmarked $7.5 million for a laser-guided bullet program. Darpa gave Lockheed $2 million for advanced sniper scopes that could boost kill rates by tenfold, or more. If the system works out as planned, it would actually allow snipers to remain virtually invisible, lost in the "heat haze" in between them and their targets. Our own David Hambling called the project the "next war's secret weapon."
 

Triton

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Uploaded on Jul 2, 2014

DARPA's Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is initially aimed. 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 aim.

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. For more information, please visit the program page at http://go.usa.gov/XmSG.


http://youtu.be/vX8Z2MDYX3g
 

ouroboros

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I wonder if this is an extension of previous .50 cal laser guided MEMS fin bullet work at Sandia? The bullet had an optical sensor to pick up a laser illuminated aimpoint, and steered with MEMS based fins on the boattail.

EDIT:

Scratch that, EXACTO uses a more conventional looking bullet with three bands. Sandia bullet was a 4 inch dart looking thing with fins going about midway to the end (like a martlet shell?). I guess the banding expands somehow (smart polymer?) to change from circular to lumpy to provide steering, but being all circular/symmetric brings up the issue of whether this is launched from a rifled or smoothbore barrel.
 

fredymac

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Now shooting at moving targets. I wonder if you could strap a .50 cal onto a Predator and have it hang out at 20,000 ft over a crowded street looking for a high value target.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoOaJclkSZg
 

SpudmanWP

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5.56 and 7.62 will be too small for a very long time.


I mentioned the 25mm grenade because it's the largest-payload / longest-ranged man-portable round available today and it's already used in long ranged sniping (anti-material).


 

ouroboros

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So, apparently the bullet is even weirder than I though. Uses a two mass design, and there are descriptions of a high speed motor internally. Guess it uses CG changes to alter drag profile to provide steering.
 

jsport

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How much are these things costing per especially w/ quality control. Good basic fabrication and computing allows high regular shot accuracy. There is no true defilade targeting but there is trace back to the shooter. Not a panacea.
 

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