Military Review

The US agency DARPA is working on a bullet with an optical guidance system

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Guided ammunition has long been no surprise to anyone, having ceased to be something fantastic. Such weapon It was created during the Second World War. Work on guided missiles began in Germany in 1943, in 1944, tests of the famous X-7 Rotkappchen (Little Red Riding Hood) ATGM took place, which was included in all textbooks as the world's first anti-tank guided missile. Since then, science and technology have made a huge step forward, ATGMs have become much more advanced and effective, but the creation of guided small arms ammunition is indeed a new word in the weapon business.


The main problem that arises during the development of a controlled bullet is the need to place all control devices and stuffing in a very limited volume. Work on such projects has been going on for several decades. However, it was in the modern realities of the development of microelectronics that they were really able to reach a new level. Currently, the US Defense Research Agency DARPA is working in this direction, real prototypes of smart bullets are being tested. However, it is too early to talk about the mass introduction or adoption of such ammunition.

Initiate work towards the creation of such ammunition by the US military pushed the experience of military operations conducted in the territory of Afghanistan and Iraq. Military experts found that the effectiveness of sniper units is low. For example, snipers in Afghanistan very often could not boast a mark of shooting due to dust storms, strong winds and elevation changes. In this case, every mistake and an extra shot could give the arrow and put his life at risk. The Pentagon decided that it would be easier to follow the path of improving weapons systems than to spend money and time to conduct additional preparatory work with snipers.



In order to solve the identified problem, it was decided to create a new sniper complex, which would use the latest technical advances. The technical task for the project really looks impressive: a new weapon should ensure that it hits the target, correcting all shooter’s mistakes when fired, in any weather conditions and in any terrain, providing the shooter with maximum concealment. An additional stringent condition from the Pentagon is that the high-precision sniper complex must confidently hit not only stationary targets, but also objects moving at high speed.

This is how the EXACTO project was born - a program for the development of high-precision safe sniper shooting systems. EXACTO is short for EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance. The sniper complex being developed in the United States consisted of a large-caliber sniper rifle, a detection and guidance system, and a directly guided bullet. DARPA started working on this program in November 2008. The initial cost of work under this program was supposed to be $ 25 million ($ 12,3 million from Lockheed Martin and $ 9,5 million from Teledyne Scientific & Imaging were confirmed), but later it was reported that the cost of the program has increased significantly. In particular, only the American-Israeli corporation-developer of guidance systems Teledyne has invested more than $ 25 million in this project. The developers planned to achieve the first tangible results in 2015. The first demonstration of guided bullets occurred in 2014, and in February 2015 they were tested in field conditions.

Self-guided bullet brings to life the dream of science fiction. However, a cartridge with a .50 caliber bullet (12,7 mm), which is capable of maneuvering, adjusting its trajectory in flight after a shot from a firearm, still cannot “shoot from the corner,” the smart bullet developers didn’t work on this. Their main task was to provide the ammunition with a minimum deviation from the initially set course, not allowing the bullet to change the trajectory under the influence of side wind, air turbulence and loss of speed. Due to this, a smart ammunition should significantly improve the accuracy and accuracy of shooting, providing savings of ammunition and increasing the secrecy of the shooter. In practice, the principle is realized: one goal - one shot.



According to the agency, a specially designed EXACTO cartridge uses an optical guidance system in real time. This guidance system allows you to track not only the bullet, but also direct it directly at the target. Thanks to this optical system, it is possible to provide an arrow with the sniper accuracy of hitting, regardless of the impact on the trajectory of a bullet, of such external factors as weather conditions (rain, snow), wind or target movement.

“For military snipers to hit a moving target in adverse conditions, which include dust storms and strong winds that were encountered in Afghanistan, is a very difficult task, even taking into account the use of the most modern technologies and weapons,” said DARPA. “It is very important that a sniper defeats a target as quickly as possible and with greater accuracy, since every shot that doesn’t hit the target exposes the sniper to unnecessary danger, betraying the enemy’s presence or even revealing the firing position it occupies.”

DARPA first showed its guided bullets in 2014 year. The video presented at that time demonstrated how guided sniper bullets change the direction of their flight, as if following a target. The tests at the test site, which took place as early as February 2015, demonstrated that the self-guided bullets created as part of the EXACTO project hit not only moving targets, but also targets that are accelerated. The video from the agency shows that the novice was able to hit the target with the same ease as the professional shooter: the bullet, deviating from the original trajectory of its flight, finds the desired target itself.



“In line with the task, the Exacto bullets created by DARPA specialists demonstrated what was previously considered impossible: continuous aiming of the bullet at the target,” said Jerome Dunn, program development manager. “The demonstration firing from a standard rifle demonstrated that such bullets can hit moving and evading targets with very high sniper accuracy, which is unattainable for traditional types of ammunition.”

“Equipping small-caliber cartridges with such a targeting system is quite a serious breakthrough and opens up possibilities for using this technology in the long run on ammunition of any caliber, turning them into controllable ones,” said Jerome Dunn.

In fact, a smart bullet that can adjust its trajectory in flight is more like a miniature rocket, not a bullet. The length of the bullet is about 10 centimeters. An optical sensor was placed in its nose, which allows you to set a light point on the target. Information from the sensor is transmitted to a small processor that can correct the trajectory of the 30 bullet once per second, for which small actuators are used to control its plumage. This ammunition does not swing even at the time of the trajectory. In this case, the speed of a bullet in 2 times the speed of sound. An unguided bullet of the same size deviates from a target located a kilometer away from the shooter by approximately 10 meters, while a controlled bullet is only 20 centimeters.

The usual bullet when starting out of the barrel of a rifle is already starting to sway, whereas in the smart bullet there is a stabilization system, the use of the “tail” makes such ammunition more stable in flight. Using the information received from the optical system, the bullet, using small aerodynamic elements, performs flight correction, providing the shooter with a confident defeat of the chosen target. Thanks to these solutions, the bullet turns into a small guided projectile. All the studies carried out to this point confirm that the bullet homing at the target is able to withstand all loads without any damage to the structure and electronic filling, while developing speed to 730 m / s. According to the developers, in the future, the speed of the bullet can be changed to an even greater direction, increasing the shooting range. In addition to testing the ammunition in an open space, were tested bullets and indoors. According to DARPA representatives, the accuracy of a bullet hitting a target as it increases the distance to it only grows, since in this case more time appears that can be spent on carrying out the correction of its flight path.

The US agency DARPA is working on a bullet with an optical guidance system


In Russia, this development of Americans is rather critical. Alexander Kozmin, the head of the design office of the ORSIS company, spoke about the practicality and innovativeness of the development in an interview with the Zvezda TV channel (this company is the developer of one of the most modern sniper rifles in the country). According to him, there is nothing unusual in the project implemented by the Americans. Back in the 1980s, a homing bullet was created in the UK, but it never entered service. The British considered that this technology was very expensive, and its use in practice, that is, in combat conditions, already in those years caused many questions.

So, according to Alexander Kozmin, it is not fully known about the impact of this kind of bullets on the target. The thing is that during the maneuvering on the flight path, especially if it is active, as well as in the presence of a strong headwind, the controlled bullet will be guaranteed to lose its kinetic energy. This, in turn, will lead to a drop in the slaughter rate and the stopping power of the munition.

Information sources:
http://gearmix.ru/archives/26853
http://www.sovsekretno.ru/articles/id/4970
http://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201412240852-hwux.htm
http://airsoftpowerplay.com/samonavodyashhiesya-puli-ispyitaniya-ssha
http://www.popmech.ru/weapon/12533-ballada-o-gibkoy-pule/#full
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33 comments
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  1. cth; fyn
    cth; fyn April 5 2016 06: 22
    -1
    Rather, the bullet does not embody the dream of science fiction, but the dream of the Rospilovites.
    1. Viktor_24reg
      Viktor_24reg April 5 2016 09: 42
      +7
      Why is everyone clinging to this cut, eh ?! Where is it not in your opinion? Yes, they saw, they saw well (probably :-)), but the technologies do not stand still. Subsequently, these technologies, only "protected", we will also buy in the form of all kinds of gadgets and the like.
      1. cth; fyn
        cth; fyn April 5 2016 17: 27
        -2
        Those. you want to say that, then that sawing is normal ?! I'm in shock!
        1. Foofighter
          Foofighter April 5 2016 22: 42
          -3
          Without otliza towards Rotkappchen in the first paragraph, of course, there was no way.
        2. The comment was deleted.
  2. Arktidianets
    Arktidianets April 5 2016 06: 48
    -1
    DARPA as an analogue of our Rusnano, give us money, and we will come up with such a curiosity!
    1. Viktor_24reg
      Viktor_24reg April 5 2016 09: 37
      +5
      I don’t agree, they are at least doing something there, and, in my opinion, interesting things, but RosNADO ...
    2. Kronos07
      Kronos07 April 5 2016 11: 21
      +4
      Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a central research and organizational development for the US Department of Defense.
      1. Lunic
        Lunic April 5 2016 19: 19
        +3
        What a patient robot! :) But he could give change ..
      2. Manul
        Manul April 5 2016 22: 41
        +1
        Quote: Kronos07
        Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a central research and organizational development for the US Department of Defense.

        Cool robot. But I was only surprised that he adjusts his coordinates, according to the position of the box, and makes diametrical movements to reach a "comfortable" grip. A person would come up in a straight line and unfold the box so that it would be convenient to take. The robot is still dumb, but this is temporary. I would not like to lag behind in this matter.
        1. Foofighter
          Foofighter April 6 2016 00: 07
          0
          Quote: Manul
          Dumb robot,

          well, who is he finger did? laughing
    3. iConst
      iConst April 5 2016 18: 01
      +2
      Quote: Arctidian
      DARPA as an analogue of our Rusnano, give us money, and we will come up with such a curiosity!

      DARPA is a cool office. For example, the Internet was created on its instructions as part of the development of a resilient data transmission medium.
      A lot of funding for projects with an unclear result - like research.
  3. Holsten
    Holsten April 5 2016 07: 02
    +7
    But the idea is good. Much of what is being produced seemed fantastic in the recent past.
    On the other hand, it is the simplest and most reliable AKM that has achieved fantastic popularity all over the world.
    1. Waltasar
      Waltasar April 5 2016 07: 26
      +1
      This weapon should not be popular. It is more likely for special operations, the liquidation of someone with good security.
      1. sufix
        sufix April 5 2016 20: 05
        0
        I think with the development of technology, the more so effective, production will be cheaper. Soon, but apparently this bullet will go into the everyday life of the American military. Another thing is how successfully its use in real combat operations will be, when in addition to poor visibility and weather, electronic warfare equipment is also possible.
  4. tchoni
    tchoni April 5 2016 08: 38
    +3
    Could it be more logical to use a smart homing grenade instead of a bullet? And it’s easier to implement (all the size is larger and the speed is lower) and slaughter is guaranteed. But this is for war. But a controlled bullet is more interesting for counter-terrorism tasks ...
  5. baudolino
    baudolino April 5 2016 09: 06
    +8
    As soon as the price is announced wholesale and retail, all questions about this wonderful ammunition will disappear.
    1. pimen
      pimen April 5 2016 09: 10
      +2
      I suppose, even with the wording: to hell with him, vrazhin, let him live
  6. Stiletto
    Stiletto April 5 2016 09: 23
    +3
    With this approach, the Pentagon generals will die faster from greed than the Taliban from such a bullet.
  7. DimerVladimer
    DimerVladimer April 5 2016 09: 45
    +7
    A relatively accessible technology of correctable bullets will appear - followed by failure will be a counter-technology - for example, clogging an optical channel with laser radiation guidance (as an anti-sniper complex)
    1. bocsman
      bocsman April 5 2016 10: 27
      +5
      Quote: DimerVladimer
      A relatively accessible technology of correctable bullets will appear - followed by failure will be a counter-technology - for example, clogging an optical channel with laser radiation guidance (as an anti-sniper complex)


      Well, what will you do with the whole people who fervently believe in "supermen" that the end of the world will soon be and that the United States will side with the forces of good (although the entire period of its existence as a state is the forces of evil)! One interesting point, the reason, or if you want the rationale for creating such an ammunition. It turns out to be easier to spend hundreds of millions of greens than to train normal snipers! Before that, pairs of snipers were provided with mini weather stations and ballistic computers and optics for ammunition and super rifles with the same cartridges! Well, the Yankees don't get where they need to! It turns out nature is to blame. Rain, snow. wind and other nuisance for supermen. And now one more question. In the United States, how do they claim the best precision weapons in the world, and how do they manage to “accurately” hit hospitals, weddings, tractors, instead of adversaries? Examples of the sea! So it seems to me that no matter how clever a bullet, a bomb, a rocket was in the hands of the representatives of the most "civilized" country in the world, it will fly in the wrong direction and not as they will later tell.
      1. fzr1000
        fzr1000 April 5 2016 10: 43
        +1
        World sniper shooting record for the USA, more than 3400 m on a fixed target. Up to this point, the record was for Russia.
        1. spech
          spech April 6 2016 10: 52
          0
          World sniper shooting record for the USA, more than 3400 m on a fixed target.

          with what attempt and what to do with the theory of probability?
          (there were cases that when shot up a bullet hit a person laughing )
      2. Kronos07
        Kronos07 April 5 2016 11: 27
        +1
        Exacto Live-Fire Test, February 2015
  8. Metoclopramide
    Metoclopramide April 5 2016 11: 14
    0
    As a killer’s weapon, it’s possible it will pull, but it may not pull it, because the guided weapon is sensitive to electronic warfare and electronic warfare, and even if it is effective today, this does not mean that it will be so tomorrow. If you use such ammunition in bulk, then even fighting in The USA will go bankrupt in Iraq, the manufacture of each cartridge for small arms will be too expensive and time-consuming, and many are required for war.
  9. Disorder
    Disorder April 5 2016 11: 57
    +2
    “For military snipers to hit a moving target in adverse conditions, which include dust storms and strong winds that were encountered in Afghanistan, is a very difficult task, even taking into account the use of the most modern technologies and weapons,” said DARPA. “It is very important that a sniper defeats a target as quickly as possible and with greater accuracy, since every shot that doesn’t hit the target exposes the sniper to unnecessary danger, betraying the enemy’s presence or even revealing the firing position it occupies.”

    And how can such a bullet in a dust storm help?
  10. qwert
    qwert April 5 2016 12: 29
    +3
    At one time, Nicholas II was against the adoption of Maxim machine guns, since, in their opinion, at their rate of fire, they could ruin Russia.
    Naturally, these bullets with guidance at their likely price will only be for specialists. Yes, and if they get into the troops, the enemy will develop cheap optical countermeasures. Highlights, interference, spectral flashlights at 3 rubles per dozen .....
  11. Leeder
    Leeder April 5 2016 14: 59
    +4
    I always thought and still think that overly expensive weapons or ammunition can only be used in special operations. Otherwise, no economy can stand it.
    In protracted conflicts, reliability, price and manufacturability come first.
    1. Izotovp
      Izotovp April 5 2016 16: 31
      +2
      Once the car was an expensive and rare toy and a cell phone the size of a brick. Progress, however !!!
  12. bootlegger
    bootlegger April 5 2016 16: 49
    0
    This is all good for special operations to eliminate global figures.
    In fact, the analogue of SP 24 adapted to small arms will be more successful. A homing barrel-sight system with temperature, wind, pressure and first-shot correction sensors may well be more effective. And in any case, cheaper in mass use.
    And to increase the likelihood of hitting and compensating for the shortcomings of accuracy, the system may well issue a series of a dozen shots with conventional sniper ammunition. And since automation will shoot and adjust the fire, everything will happen quickly and the target will not have time to react.
    The quality of the machining of a barrel-bullet pair already allows quite accurately to fire a couple of kilometers. And you can only find distances for firing at a greater distance in the mountains.
  13. trantor
    trantor April 5 2016 18: 07
    +6
    The general tone of the comments is generally skeptical, but in vain. If there is anything worth learning from the Americans, in addition to handling a pistol, it is the tactics of the work of sniper groups and the methods of their preparation. As for the price, a special sniper (conventional, not homing) ammunition cannot be cheap by definition. And if you consider that one "good" shot from the same 12.7 caliber Barret disables an armored personnel carrier? How do you like this price of a shot?
    And if you take into account the completely different nature of wars and conflicts, in contrast to what happened 30 years ago? Stalin before the war said that it would be a war of cars. Queue for the technology war.

    NB When will our red-haired devil even invent something?
  14. Massik
    Massik April 5 2016 19: 56
    +2
    Chezh BOPS tank controlled will not do? Well, at least with 800 m \ with speed? They made a bullet, but the shell still cannot pervert with missiles.
    1. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh April 21 2016 15: 31
      0
      Of course they did. The smallest of the Spike family.
      They hit the important fighters with a direct hit.
      Before hitting, the rocket sends a picture of a surprised face,
      so that there is no doubt that they killed exactly the one you need.
  15. Svidetel 45
    Svidetel 45 April 6 2016 00: 05
    0
    Yes, for special operations, it will probably be a very good thing, one shot - one hit target, the guarantee is almost complete.
  16. tracer
    tracer April 6 2016 03: 01
    0
    The topic is promising. Today, our best artillery mounts, Mstislav S and the SVD Coalition, give accuracy higher than the coolest sniper rifles when counted for range. So guided bullets are a quick thing from a very fast future. Need to catch up. Although some work can be carried out, but it is unlikely. This task is not of the utmost importance to the armed forces.
  17. NOTaFED
    NOTaFED April 6 2016 09: 26
    0
    The company name "Teledyne" is very similar to "Cyberdyne" from the Terminator movies ...
  18. Alex gt
    Alex gt April 6 2016 13: 02
    0
    They came up with miracle bullets for snipers, now it remains to develop an invisibility cloak for special operations.
  19. Dulat
    Dulat April 15 2016 10: 27
    0
    If in the USA they made such a bullet, then ours will do it too, but twice as cheap
  20. krops777
    krops777 April 29 2016 18: 11
    +1
    With the development of nanotechnology, it is quite possible to create a "smart" bullet.
  21. gladcu2
    gladcu2 23 June 2016 20: 26
    0
    For your money, whatever you want!

    We throw the enemy "Lamborghini" and "Bentley". Let the insurance go bust.