DARPA’s EXACTO 50 Guided Small Caliber Bullet

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Teledyne Scientific have teamed up to design and develop a guided small caliber munition intended for precision shooting at extended ranges. The decision was made to use the .50BMG, which can be fired from the M107 and M87 sniper platforms. As you can see in the video below, the munition makes in flight corrections to hit the target. In long range engagements, a sniper considers range to the target, barometric pressure, temperature and humidity to determine the amount of elevation and windage adjustment needed to make the shot. It is a best guess approach with several  issues. After the sniper fires the shot, the bullet leaves the barrel and is influenced by a number of things. For example, at a range of 1,100 yards or more, it will take the projectile 1.6 seconds or more to impact its target; in that time window, referred to as flight time, any number of things can act on the bullet inflight, for example wind gusts, changing its trajectory and missing the target. DARPA wants to change all of that with the EXACTO 50.

What will be interesting to see is what methods are being used to provide that guidance from both the sniper’s perspective and the munition. For example, laser guided or heat sensing. Presently, the probability of successfully hitting a target beyond 1500 meters is right around 20%. My approach, rather than exposing your position call it in.

One last forward looking closing comment. Do not assume that future conflicts will be limited to Pashtun tribesmen. At some point we may be confronted with an adversary of comparable technical sophistication.

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