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View Full Version : Chatter Self-guided bullet can travel over a mile and change direction



Ron Czapala
01-31-2012, 02:06 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/u-military-developed-self-guided-bullet-travel-over-004607520.html

U.S. military developed self-guided bullet can travel over a mile and change direction before it snags its target

With the ongoing advancements in modern technology it should come as no surprise that military agencies, in this case the United States military, are seeking to apply new technologies to the battlefield. Since a warzone can be a hellish place where one mistake can mean jeopardizing the life of a fellow soldier or even your own, soldiers learn quickly that they must always be alert and on guard.

Often placed under extreme conditions, soldiers must rely on unbridled discipline, a great degree of patience, and of course a skilled level of marksmanship. But thanks to new government research by Sandia National Laboratories, American troops might be getting some much appreciated help in the form of self-guided bullets.

Sandia National Laboratories has long been at work with the United States military developing the ultimate “smart bullet.” It announced today that a successful prototype of the bullet was created and tested at distances of over a mile (about 2,000 meters).

“We have a very promising technology to guide small projectiles that could be fully developed inexpensively and rapidly,” said Sandia researcher Red Jones. Sandia’s new technology features a dart-like “smart bullet” that allows for unprecedented movement while in flight.

Working in tandem with laser designators, each bullet measures around four inches in length. An optical sensor can be seen at the tip of the round, which can detect a laser beam that would be used to “paint” a target. Inside, the bullets are able to communicate with the different sensors that are gathered via sensors which also communicate with the bullet allowing it to steer and maneuver to its destination.

Chief among the new “smart bullets” abilities is the way in which the guided rounds can actually “self correct” its navigational path 30 times a second and at the same time traveling at the speed of sound.

Given that bullets, by nature, have been engineered to travel in as straight a line as possible, the entire design of Sandia’s bullets needed to be re-engineered. For example, you may notice that when you throw a football the spin achieved after the ball is properly thrown allows for it to travel farther and faster. The concept is similar here, only in order to allow the bullet to change course, the researchers needed to eliminate that spin, and instead utilized tiny fins similar to that of a dart.

“Most bullets shot from rifles, which have grooves, or rifling, that cause them to spin so they fly straight, like a long football pass,” Jones explains. “To enable a bullet to turn in flight toward a target and to simplify the design, the spin had to go.”
According to Sandia, which conducted computer aerodynamic modeling tests, unguided bullets under real-world conditions could miss a target more than a half mile away (1,000) meters by 9.8 yards (9 meters), but a guided bullet would get within eight inches (0.2 meters).

It’s no secret that the desire for self-guided bullets is something the U.S. military has been pursuing for some time. In fact, back in 2008 Lockheed Martin, who fully owns Sandia National Laboratories, was awarded a lucrative contract worth $12.3 million as part of Darpa’s “Exacto” program, which sought out to develop and produce sniper rifles with guided bullets. It would appear that the investment is paying off. However, Sandia’s research regarding its self-guided bullet could possibly allow for a much wider application than originally intended.

While the innovative smart round was initially planned for larger caliber guns the technology could also permit the company to implement it not only in sniper riflles, but small-caliber firearms as well. Additionally, Sandia’s new technology could be supplied to not only the military, but law enforcement agencies and perhaps even commercially to recreational shooters such as hunters.

Ravenkallen
01-31-2012, 02:42 AM
Interesting idea... But, i bet the cost of such a bullet would be extremely high. I could see those sorts of smart munitions being used with tanks, close air support or maybe even snipers, but i don't think every infantry is going to have those standard. Having to need line-of-sight could be a detriment to weapons that fire indirectly(Mortars, artillery) also.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
01-31-2012, 02:44 AM
Good googly moo! As if our current arsenal doesn't wreak enough death and destruction as it is!

-Phil

Ravenkallen
01-31-2012, 03:29 AM
"Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." Theodore Roosevelt

Seems like it has worked pretty well so far:)

davejames
01-31-2012, 03:39 AM
"Great googly moogly!!!" (sorry Mr. Pilgrim, just had to join in. :innocent: My apologies to F.V.)

My lovely wife and I just saw a rerun of "Bones" in which the villain had bullets that could be programmed to explode at a particular point in its path.

Science fiction coming true?

rod1963
01-31-2012, 04:51 AM
The smallest smart bullet we've have is a 25mm monster for the XM-25, that has to be hand made. Good luck making something as small as a 7.62 NATO or .338 Lapua.

That said, get a box of these self-guided bullets(if they ever reach real world testing), drop them on the concrete a dozen times, subject them to extreme heat and cold for six months, then drop them in a mud-puddle then stick them in a gun and have one of the engineers try to shoot it. If it blows up in his face or he can't hit squat, then back to the drawing board.

That said there is some BS in the article, typical DoD contractor FUD garbage. They make it look almost impossible for soldiers to make 1000 yd kills. It's not, our sniper schools churn those eagle eyed fellas out on a regular basis. The limitations aren't the bullets. There are a lot of other factors that go into making a successful long range shot.

ElectricAye
01-31-2012, 05:26 AM
...drop them on the concrete a dozen times, subject them to extreme heat and cold for six months, then drop them in a mud-puddle....


I'm just wildly guessing here, but if these little doo-hickeys can survive the g-forces generated during a shot, then dropping them on the concrete won't matter too much. Artillery devices of this sort have been around for a while, so maybe this is just the shrinky-dink version.

davejames
01-31-2012, 09:15 PM
...more info on the subject:

http://news.yahoo.com/self-guided-bullet-strikes-target-mile-away-video-132957445.html

RobotWorkshop
02-01-2012, 08:12 PM
Reminds me of one of the early scenes in this movie:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088024/

Invent-O-Doc
02-02-2012, 09:51 PM
We have already fielded the 'bullets' that can be programmed to explode at a certain point in space. It is more like a 25mm minigrenade. The weapons, prototypes of our next infantry weapon, were successfully tested in Afghanistan. The exploding shell can be set to hit people hiding behind cover. Good Googly Moo!! (I had to do it too)

ElectricAye
02-03-2012, 03:47 AM
Maybe what we really need are bullets that perform self-extraction when they hit the wrong target.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_fire

SRLM
02-03-2012, 04:35 AM
The smallest smart bullet we've have is a 25mm monster for the XM-25, that has to be hand made. Good luck making something as small as a 7.62 NATO or .338 Lapua.

That said, get a box of these self-guided bullets(if they ever reach real world testing), drop them on the concrete a dozen times, subject them to extreme heat and cold for six months, then drop them in a mud-puddle then stick them in a gun and have one of the engineers try to shoot it. If it blows up in his face or he can't hit squat, then back to the drawing board.

That said there is some BS in the article, typical DoD contractor FUD garbage. They make it look almost impossible for soldiers to make 1000 yd kills. It's not, our sniper schools churn those eagle eyed fellas out on a regular basis. The limitations aren't the bullets. There are a lot of other factors that go into making a successful long range shot.

The bullets are laser guided, so they would be more impervious to wind and moving targets than a traditional bullet.