The accuracy of sniper teams is limited by random variables such as changing winds, muzzle velocity dispersions and round-to-round variations.
To compensate for such issues, engineers at Teledyne Scientific and Imaging now plan to develop the first-ever guided small-calibre .50 bullet with funding from DARPA.
By doing so, the EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) system aims to maximise the effectiveness of sniper teams while improving their safety.
According to DARPA, the EXACTO .50 calibre round and optical-sighting technology will more than double the day and night-time range over current sniper systems, while allowing the sniper to hit moving targets, even in high wind conditions.
DARPA added that the system will combine a manoeuvrable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track the target and deliver the projectile to target.
The engineers involved in the programme recently completed a successful proof of concept with a hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) simulation of the system. Next, they will build and test a complete system, including the required optical sighting equipment and guided .50 calibre projectiles.
Although intended for use by snipers, DARPA says that the technology is directly applicable to larger calibre weapons, as well as vehicle, ship- and airborne-mounted systems.