Monday, January 19, 2015

New guided bullet could make Marine snipers deadlier

New guided bullet could make Marine snipers deadlier: The agency responsible for developing the Defense Department's next generation, science fiction-like technology is working to bring guided bullets that can change direction mid-flight to the military's most elite marksmen.

After successfully test firing a guided .50-caliber round this summer, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is now conducting "system-level" testing, which will help determine how a guided bullet would work with a service rifle on the battlefield.

In July, DARPA posted a video of testing for its Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, or EXACTO program, in which several of the steerable rounds were deliberately fired off target. In the video, the bullet changes direction multiple times before striking the intended target, which was located to the left of the test's point of aim.

The new technology would be a welcome and useful development, but wouldn't replace the need for well-trained traditional sniper teams, said Ryan Innis, a former scout sniper with 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. Innis, who left the Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2013 after serving on the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Units anti-piracy raid force near East Africa, said a guided bullet could make all Marines pinpoint marksmen.