In Addition to Pilot-less Drones Firing Missiles, the U.S. Government has Self-guided Bullets in Its Arsenal
January 31, 2012
Mashable - A breakthrough in precision bullet technology for small caliber firearms will make striking a target an easier task. Two researchers at Sandia's National Laboratories created a self-guided dart-like bullet able to strike a target more than a mile away.
The self-guided 4-inch bullet prototype has been successfully tested in both computer simulations and field testing -- where bullet speeds have reached 2,400 feet per second. The bullet differs from missile technology, in that the self-guided bullet has an optical sensor that can detect a laser beam on a target, which allows the bullet to steer toward a target.
In one field test, researchers attached a tiny light-emitting diode, or LED to the bullet to tract its path and researchers found the "battery and electronics could survive the bullet's launch," Sandia Lab reported.
The bullet is still a prototype, but if it passes further testing conducted by a private firm, the bullet will be accessible to recreational shooters, law enforcement and the military. Lockheed Martin assisted Sandia Lab's research and has worked with the military to develop a self-guided bullet over the years.
"While engineering issues remain, we’re confident in our science base and we’re confident the engineering-technology base is there to solve the problems,” Sandia researcher Red Jones said in a statement.