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Future

Sure Fire: New Smart Bullets Designed With Mini 'Wings' For Guided Precision

Until now, good marksmanship had everything to do with the person firing the gun. That could soon change. Researchers in New Mexico have developed a computerized super bullet that can guide itself to the target.

For now, marksmanship still requires good aim (mrbill)
For now, marksmanship still requires good aim (mrbill)


*NEWSBITES

Researchers in the United States have come up with a next-generation bullet that uses an optic sensor and tiny wings to zero in on its target.

At the tip of the 10-centimeter long bullet is a sensor that heads straight for wherever a laser is pointing. The sensor sends the data it picks up to a processor inside the bullet. The mini-computer figures out the ideal trajectory and corrects it if necessary. The data is transmitted to wings that operate similarly to the way feathers on a dart work. The wings can be steered, however, and thus guide the bullet to its target.

The mini wings are protected by a plastic covering that falls away after the bullet leaves the weapon. The wings also have another function. Normal bullets stabilize their flight by quick self rotation. However, that also means they can't be driven to a target with precision. But because of the wings there is no rotation in the new bullets, and they can be driven.

Engineers Red Jones and Brian Kast of the Sandia National Labs in the U.S. state of New Mexico developed the bullets and have successfully conducted initial tests. A night test showed clearly how the bullet with the light-emitting diode changed course. However, exactly how precisely it hit target could only be recreated on computer models. According to the models, bullets shot from a distance of 1 kilometer can occasionally be up to 20 centimeters off course. Shot from the same distance, a normal bullet could be off by as much as 9 meters.

The experimental bullets can reach a speed of over 700 meters per second (Mach 2.1). Potential buyers of the technology include hunters, but mainly the military and the police. "We've developed very promising technology that can be made quickly and for little money," says Jones. The two engineers and hobby-hunters are currently looking for a company willing to invest in the final testing phase and development of a product brand.

Read the full story in German by Thomas Jüngling

Photo - mrbill

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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