Watch DARPA successfully test bullets that can change direction in midair

exacto projectile DARPA

A model of the EXACT projectile.

DARPA has released footage of a successful test of a new "smart bullet" that can change direction in midair.

Teledyne Scientific and Imaging's Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, which is being developed with funding from DARPA, has developed a self-steering bullet. Intended for long-distance shots, the EXACTO bullet is able to change course in order to strike moving targets.

"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," wrote Jerome Dunn, a DARPA program manager. "Fitting EXACTO's guidance capabilities into a small .50-caliber size is a major breakthrough and opens the door to what could be possible in future guided projectiles across all calibers."Advertisement

DARPA has released a video of the EXACTO program in action. The video shows seven shots by an experienced marksman, followed by a single shot from a first-time shooter.

The video shows the predicted ballistic path of a normal bullet, the actual path of the EXACTO bullet after being fired, and the path of the moving target.

EXACTO program


In each shot, the EXACTO bullet was able to successfully change its trajectory to hit the moving target.


The EXACTO bullet functions in a similar manner to a laser-guided bomb.

Optical sensors on the bullet help determine where the target is going. The bullet then uses this information to deploy fins which guide the projectile to its target.

This steering ability dramatically improves accuracy. In the GIF below, a first-time shooter was able to hit a moving target just as well as the experienced shooter earlier in the video.