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Hotshot! DARPA Tests Self-Guided Bullets That Hardly Ever Miss

How do you hit a target if you have bad aim? U.S. military research agency DARPA has developed a futuristic sniper-bullet system to solve that problem.
Image: Screenshot from one of DARPA's live-fire tests of the agency's EXACTO system
A screenshot from one of DARPA's live-fire tests of the agency's EXACTO system on Feb. 25, 2014.DARPA
/ Source: Live Science

How do you hit a target if you have bad aim? The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is known for developing some of the country's most futuristic technologies, has developed a high-tech sniper-bullet system to solve that problem.

DARPA recently conducted its first successful live-fire tests of the agency's Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, which is designed to help military snipers hit targets, even when their aim is off.

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A new video posted on DARPA's website Thursday (July 10) shows what happens when a sniper fires 50-caliber rounds from a rifle equipped with the EXACTO system. Despite the shots being off target, the sniper hits his mark every time.

The EXACTO system consists of a maneuverable bullet, as well as a real-time optical guidance component that can track and direct the bullet to the target. The system makes it easier for snipers to hit a moving target, DARPA officials say.

The system also allows a bullet that has already been fired to compensate for any unexpected factors that may have driven it off course, such as a strong gust of wind, rain or a dust storm.

The system was designed with the dusty terrain and high winds of Afghanistan in mind, according to DARPA. Agency officials have said snipers in Afghanistan need rifles with greater accuracy, because every shot that doesn’t hit its mark could potentially expose the location of the sniper, and put the lives of both the shooter and nearby troops in danger.

— Elizabeth Palermo, Live Science

This is a condensed version of a report from Live Science. Read the full report. Follow Elizabeth Palermo on Twitter @techEpalermo, Facebook or Google+. Follow Live Science @livescience. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

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