In 2008, the EXACTO program began under DARPA to develop a “fire and forget” smart sniper system including a guided smart bullet and improved scope. The exact technologies of this smart bullet have not been released.
DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, which developed a self-steering bullet to increase hit rates for difficult, long-distance shots, completed in February its most successful round of live-fire tests to date. An experienced shooter using the technology demonstration system repeatedly hit moving and evading targets. Additionally, a novice shooter using the system for the first time hit a moving target.
DARPA has long had aspirations toward a guided sniper bullet, though the intriguing EXACTO project has thus far seem to focus more on a heavy .50-cal projectile to be guided smartbomb-style by a laser dot.
There is, of course, another alternative: the use of the plethora of radio signals in which we are constantly swathed. If one knows the location of every TV, radio and cellular transmitter then a multi-frequency radio could enable triangulation – Google Maps already uses nearest-base-station to get a quick fix, and BAE Systems plc proposed something along similar lines last year. DARPA started exploring that angle in 2009 but now seems to be trying to make the tech smaller and more applicable to micro-navigation.
This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are moving and accelerating. 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 can impede successful hits.