There used to be a time when becoming an army sniper took years of grueling training and discipline to master the skills required to shoot an enemy fighter hundreds, or even thousands of yards away.
Soon this might all change.
The U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been quietly working since 2008 on the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program. The program is developing an advanced sniper rifle that can fire bullets, the course of which can be adjusted mid-air.
On Tuesday, the agency released the most detailed information yet on the rifle’s capabilities.
The video shows seven tests, six shots fired by an expert sniper, and one by a first-time sniper. The results are the same: In each of the cases the initial path of the bullet would have missed the moving target, but using EXACTO technology, each shot hit its mark.
The rifle uses special 50-caliber rounds developed to maneuver in mid-air to hit moving targets.
According to DARPA the bullets can, by using a real-time optical guidance system, compensate for factors such as wind, bad weather, and movement of the target.
The technology also increases the range of the rifle.
“This live-fire demonstration from a standard rifle showed that EXACTO is able to hit moving and evading targets with extreme accuracy at sniper ranges unachievable with traditional rounds,” said Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager, in a statement.
The research agency is already looking at expanding the technology, if proven successful, to rifles of all calibers.