Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been working on experimental .50 caliber ammunition that can change its course after being fired from a weapon. The development of this “self-steering sniper bullet” is a part DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, and its most successful round of live-fire tests were completed in February 2015, the officials noted.

EXACTO’s specially designed ammunition uses a “real-time optical guidance system” that tracks and directs the bullets rights to their targets by “compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that can impede successful hits,” DARPA writes on their website.

“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,” DARPA said. “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.”

“True to DARPA’s mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target,” said Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager. “This live-fire demonstration from a standard rifle showed that EXACTO is able to hit moving and evading targets with extreme accuracy at sniper ranges unachievable with traditional rounds.

The video shows EXACTO’s self-steering sniper bullets being guided to hit both moving and accelerating targets with high accuracy during Live-Fire tests that were conducted on February, 2015.

Sources: DARPA, The Washington Post