US Military Tests Magic Bullets & Shark Drone


The Department of Defense is working on bullets that can change direction mid-flight. Meanwhile the US Navy is developing a nautical drone disguised as a shark.

Long-time readers will already have guessed the former project is the work of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the real life version of Q from James Bond. One of its latest ideas is Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, or Exacto for short.

The 50-caliber round is designed to achieve two goals: to make snipers more effective and to allow troops to engage from a further distance. Darpa cites dust and high winds in Afghanistan as a situation where sniping can be particularly challenging.

While there’s not much detail on the technology behind the project, it doesn’t appear to be a scaled-down version of targeting systems such as laser-guided or heat-seeking missiles, which remain controlled by the firer after launch.

Instead it looks like the bullet itself has a built-in system of sensors that detect whether it has been blown off course, along with adjustable fins to help it change direction to wind up in the original target location.

Meanwhile the Navy’s GhostSwimmer drone is five feet long and weighs 100 pounds. It’s controlled by remote joystick.

The actual mechanism is based on the way a tuna fish moves, which the Navy says is far more efficient than propellers. However, its size and visual appearance, complete with dorsal fin, is more like a shark. While the Navy hasn’t confirmed this, it appears that’s intended to minimize the chances of other ocean-going creatures interfering with the drone.

For now GhostSwimmer will be used for gathering tide and current data, but it may eventually be assigned to reconnaissance missions.