Defense Department Tests Bullet That Changes Direction After Being Shot

Direction-changing bullets could improve sniper accuracy. DARPA

The U.S. Department of Defense is testing .50-caliber bullets that can change direction in mid-flight. If adopted, the bullets could make American military snipers even more deadly.

The bullets are being tested by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department's research arm, under a program called Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, or EXACTO for short.

"The objective of the EXACTO program is to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first-ever guided small-caliber bullet," DARPA says on its website. The program aims to help snipers strike moving targets in unfavorable conditions like "high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan," the site says.

A video below, posted by DARPA in July, shows the bullet being tested twice. In both tests, the bullet is fired deliberately off target. In the second test, the target is hit.

The companies involved in the product's manufacturing and testing have not disclosed how the technology works, but the bullet's shells are thought to have built-in fins that direct it after being shot.

DARPA says the potential benefits are twofold. The bullets could "improve sniper effectiveness" as well as "enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines."

Defense Department Tests Bullet That Changes Direction After Being Shot | Tech & Science