Laser guided bullets?

Posted: February 2, 2012 in Science and Technology

Susan Montoya Bryan
smh.com.au
February 2, 2012

Figuring out how to pack a processor and other sophisticated equipment into a machine gun bullet has been a challenge, but engineers at Sandia National Laboratories in the US say the miniature guidance system they’ve developed is a breakthrough.

A bullet that directs itself like a tiny guided missile and can hit a target more than 1.6km away has the potential to change the battlefield for soldiers without costing too much, engineers said on Wednesday.

Sandia technical staff member Red Jones said the .50-calibre bullets are being designed to work with military machine guns, so soldiers could hit their mark faster and with precision.

“Everybody thought it was too difficult to make things small enough. We knew we could deal with that. The other thing was it was going to be too complicated and expensive,” he said. “We came up with an innovative way around that to make it stupid and cheap and still pretty good.”

Developing more precise weaponry has been a mission for government and industry scientists for decades. Most recently, the research arm of the US Department of Defence has awarded tens of millions of dollars in contracts to companies to develop guided ammunition for snipers and special scopes that account for crosswinds and other environmental variables.

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