(Self-steering bullet researched by US weapons experts)
“This would be a revolution for ground forces, and may help further cut down on civilian casualties in future conflicts.”
US military develops A self-guiding bullet that can steer itself towards its target. The bullet uses tiny fins to correct the course of its flight allowing it to hit laser-illuminated targets. this bullet has the capacity of hitting targets at distances of about 2km (1.24 miles). Work on a prototype suggests that accuracy is best at longer ranges. A think tank says the tech is well-suited to snipers, but worries about it being marketed to the public. Work on the project is being carried out by an Albuquerque-based subsidiary of defense contractor Lockheed Martin on behalf of the US government.
The current prototype involves a 4in (10cm) bullet which includes an optical sensor in its nose to detect the laser. This information is then processed and used o move motors within the bullet which steer tiny fins, altering the ammunition’s path. The team has carried out both field tests and computer simulations, and says “engineering issues” remain. However, they add that they are confident of bringing the product to market. Experts say there would be great demand for the innovation on the battlefield. Unlike most bullets the self-guided prototype minimizes spin, aiming to fly like a dart. To simplify things the researchers moved the bullet’s centre of gravity further forward than it would normally be. When combined with the fins this caused it to only spin a few revolutions per second, making it easier to steer. Because the bullet’s motion settles the longer it is in flight, the researchers say its accuracy improves at longer ranges. But the researchers say they are confident that they can increase its velocity with customized gunpowder.