By Wyatt Earp | April 16, 2009
Oooh, baby! I want one! *drools*
The three Navy SEAL snipers who killed the pirates off the coast of Somalia last weekend were lucky the buccaneers were gullible enough to allow their lifeboat to be towed farther out to sea by the U.S.S. Bainbridge. The shortened towline turned what could have been a trio of difficult shots across hundreds of yards of ocean into relatively easy 30-yd. pops. It’s a safe bet future pirates won’t be so naive. But the Pentagon is drawing up a project to make it easier to hit targets at much longer distances: a super-sniper rifle called the EXACTO, short for EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance.
This, my friends, is why America is the greatest country in the world.
The highly-classified EXACTO program began a year ago, when the U.S. military’s band of scientists and engineers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — which played a key role in the creation of both the Internet and GPS — let the military-industrial complex know it was seeking a supergun. “The ability to more accurately prosecute targets at significantly longer range would provide a dramatic new capability to the U.S. military,” DARPA’S solicitation for bids said. “The use of an actively controlled bullet will make it possible to counter environmental effects such as crosswinds and air density, and prosecute both stationary and moving targets while enhancing shooter covertness.”
It’s like Eraser, without the annoying Vanessa Williams. And I thought Al Gore invented the Internet, not DARPA!
The new .50 caliber gun and improved scope could employ “fire and forget” technologies including “fin-stabilized projectiles, spin-stabilized projectiles, internal and/or external aero-actuation control methods, projectile guidance technologies, tamper proofing, small stable power supplies, and advanced sighting, optical resolution and clarity technologies.” In other words, bullets that, once fired at a specific target, fly themselves into it by changing shape. The new gun should be no heavier than the combined 46-lb. weight of the current $11,500 M107 sniper rifle and all its associated gear (including ammo, tripod, scope and slide rules for target calculations).
Oh, dear sweet baby Jesus, this sounds completely kickass! Does anyone else need a cigarette?
In November, DARPA awarded Lockheed Martin $12.3 million and Teledyne Scientific & Imaging $9.5 million to begin work on the new weapon. If various technical hurdles are cleared, it could be available sometime around 2015. (H/T – TIME)
I am now setting my alarm clock for 2015. I want to be the first kid on my block with a confirmed EXACTO kill! Heh.