New Guided Projectiles To Enhance The Sniper’s Effective Range
‘Exacto’ for ‘ Extreme Accuracy Tactical Ordnance ‘ is a guided 12.7mm (0.5″) projectile under development by DARPA. The program objective is to demonstrate how rifle accuracy and range can be extended by using guided small caliber projectiles. The program focuses on the .50 caliber round, fired by current ‘anti material’ rifles (like the Barret), equipped with an optical sight and control systems that will more than double the range over current sniper systems, while allowing the sniper to prosecute moving targets even in high wind conditions – a capability unavailable with today’s weapons.
The system will be able to guide a maneuverable projectile through its flight, as the shooter continues to track the target, delivering guidance corrections to the projectile. Once such capability is matured, Exacto will not be limited to sniper rifles, but could also be employed with vehicle or ship mounted weapon stations, as well as airborne automatic cannons, including 0.5 machine guns or 20mm cannons, that, for the first time, could yield extremely accurate fire from long distance.
The program recently completed its first phase by achieving a successful proof of concept with a high fidelity hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) simulation. Currently at Phase II, under a $25 million contract, Teledyne Scientific & Imaging will build and test a complete system, including the optical sight, guidance system and guided .50 caliber projectiles, to be tested in actual firing by 2012.