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Dr Funfrock
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/15/xm25_and_exacto/

Like, for seriously guys. Homing bullets.
Snow_Fox
didn't Sheriff 'bing bing bing' Richochette Rabbit use these things?
Fix-it
RTFA

no homing bullets.

only news is that the XM25 is being field-tested. which isn't really recent news.

EDIT: they already do this with the copperhead arty shell. they are theorizing they can scale it down. actually doing it is quite difficult.
Yerameyahu
If it needs a laser designator, how useful is that? Someone (or something) has to be within LOS and range, even if the actual shooter isn't, and he has to *stay* there, keeping the dot on the target. :/ It's one thing when you're lasing a bomb target (or yeah, artillery), but…
KarmaInferno
You don't have to calculate for wind, humidity, bullet spin, the drop from gravity, etc. anymore.

Previously you might have to aim at a point as much as eight to ten feet or more above and to the left of a target to get the bullet to hit the right place. And while you can do some math to figure out part of it, a lot of long distance sniping is down to the shooter's instinct. And that's if a target is still, if he's moving you have to aim with the same calculations at where you THINK he's going to be. If he changes movement after you pull the trigger, you're screwed.

With this system you don't have to do any of that. You just hold your sight on the target, pull the trigger, and the bullet just hits wherever you are aiming.

Even if the target is moving around randomly, as long as you keep the laser on him the round will hit.

Previously you had to be the best of the best to make a shot like that at two miles out. With this system, any monkey grunt with a steady aim can make that same shot at double the distance.

And computers are actually pretty good at automatically visually tracking targets these days. If you had a shoulder or head mounted camera with laser designator, you 'ping' a target, and the computer keeps the target lased, freeing you to pay attention to other stuff. Then if you have full auto you can do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pxjnl1yuXk


-k
Raven the Trickster
The thought from the article that the round might get scaled to work with 50mm HMGs actually sounds like a better application for them anyway. Especially for an autotracking turret on say a ship...
Yerameyahu
Still, who's spotting? If the laser is actually on the gun, recoil would knock it off the target, right? I guess you could have two guys side by side. smile.gif

I didn't mean that it was worthless, but it's not Judge Dredd homing bullets. smile.gif That's all.
KarmaInferno
At those distances it will take several seconds for a round to reach it's target. Even if there's a slight recoil, there should be enough time to correct before the round gets there.

And sniper teams work in pairs anyhow. One could aim, the other pulls the trigger on his weapon.

Or you could have the firearm on a tripod next to you while you aim the designator - pulling the trigger on the designator fires the weapon. No recoil issues.

The biggest thing, though - suddenly every soldier in your whole damn army equipped with this can hit targets 4 miles away.

Imagine a military force is moving into a battleground. There's no enemy in sight. Suddenly, every single person in the column suddenly has their head explode from a large caliber round, because four miles away another enemy force had their soldiers each pick a different target. Or, alternately, you have a computer targeting for you controlling multiple lasers to mark many targets. You open fire, full auto, and every single round is a headshot on a different target. Imagine this mounted on a AC-130 gunship, and it fires it's miniguns, every single round a lethal shot hitting a different target.

It's not just that you can hit a target at a great distance. It's that you can now do it reliably over and over and over.

That's huge.



-k
Mäx
Yeah it would be awesome if it worked like that, but sadly we live in the real world and magic bullets like the ones Zorg has are impossible.
Rastus
What about little red buttons on our state-of-the-art superguns? biggrin.gif
Mäx
QUOTE (Rastus @ Oct 22 2010, 09:46 AM) *
What about little red buttons on our state-of-the-art superguns? biggrin.gif

That should luckily be easily doable grinbig.gif
Smokeskin
Yeah, and it is impossible personal computers will need more than 640kb of RAM.

The hardest thing would seem to letting the optics and electronics survive the initial acceleration. Fitting some optics, electronics and battery inside of a .50 bullet with a piezoelectric skin able to deform enough to adjust the point of impact by a meter or two over a few kilometres of flight, that seems doable, at least down the line. Getting the package out of the barrel intact, that's another story.
Irion
Every bit of electronic, every moving part is a source of error.

You wonder why NASA still uses the old chips for their space missions?
Because a bluescreen often means a hole mission going to hell. (In the sense of the word)


QUOTE
Fitting some optics, electronics and battery inside of a .50 bullet with a piezoelectric skin able to deform enough to adjust the point of impact by a meter or two over a few kilometres of flight, that seems doable,

Well, it is not really. The problem is the sensory input and the calculation needed.
The bullet has to know where it is, who fast it is going, where his target is and of course wind and other factors as well. Well, if one of the sensors misfunctions or the calculations are off (due to numeric approximation for example) the bullet goes anywhere.


QUOTE
And computers are actually pretty good at automatically visually tracking targets these days. If you had a shoulder or head mounted camera with laser designator, you 'ping' a target, and the computer keeps the target lased, freeing you to pay attention to other stuff. Then if you have full auto you can do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pxjnl1yuXk

No, you would not.
Smokeskin
QUOTE (Irion @ Oct 22 2010, 11:33 AM) *
Well, it is not really. The problem is the sensory input and the calculation needed.
The bullet has to know where it is, who fast it is going, where his target is and of course wind and other factors as well. Well, if one of the sensors misfunctions or the calculations are off (due to numeric approximation for example) the bullet goes anywhere.


It wouldn't take much in terms of calculation, certainly not anything that would be a problem for a custom-built chip. I was looking at a camera memory card the other day that not just stored 8GB of data, but also had built-in wifi so it could transfer pictures wirelessly to my computer, and geo-tag images.

The bullet doesn't have to know where it is or how fast it is going. A time dependent angle-to-target function would be enough. Wind could be handled the same way. The target is marked with a laser, so it knows where to go.

Of course a sensor malfunction or "calculations being off" would result in not hitting. That can be said of any piece of electronics, still most of them manage to do their jobs just fine day in, day out.

Irion
QUOTE
The bullet doesn't have to know where it is or how fast it is going.

Well, since you want to change the vector by manipulating the air resistance of the bullet, and this beeing a funktion of the speed. Well, I guess you would need the current speed. Or you make an approximation.

Then you are unable to just change the angel. I think this is simple to understand. Because things that are in motion stay in motion. So if you start to rotate it will continue to do so if no force counteracting.

The point is, the bullet does not know then how much it has to interact to still miss the target. Has it 1 sec or 0.002 sec to correct the angle?
You might say, it should do it as fast as possible. Well, this tends to become very instable. Meaning your bullet will overdrive.

(Im also not sure how much you could achiev with altering the form of the bullet.)
Doc Chase
This stuff isn't changing in flight. The gun is making the adjustments based on the return of the laser before it even fires.
nezumi
You can also use a laser designator from another point. A .50 caliber rifle is a lot bigger and louder than a laser pointer. You could, hypothetically, paint the target using a predator drone from twenty miles away. The sniper gets the video feed from the drone and decides whether to take the shot. This would permit the sniper to hit a target he can't actually see, perhaps due to weather, intermediate terrain features, etc. Of course, it also assumes the bullet is capable of significant course corrections, not just fine-tuning.
KarmaInferno
QUOTE (Mäx @ Oct 22 2010, 02:40 AM) *
Yeah it would be awesome if it worked like that, but sadly we live in the real world and magic bullets like the ones Zorg has are impossible.

Well, not like Zorg, but they should work as long as you have the firearm pointed roughly in the direction of the targets.


QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Oct 22 2010, 09:39 AM) *
This stuff isn't changing in flight. The gun is making the adjustments based on the return of the laser before it even fires.

Actually, from what the article says, the bullet IS making changes in-flight to follow the laser dot. They're talking about firing the EXACTO rounds out of ordinary rifles, no other special equipment needed.

DARPA information about EXACTO.



-k
Mäx
QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Oct 22 2010, 04:39 PM) *
This stuff isn't changing in flight. The gun is making the adjustments based on the return of the laser before it even fires.

Actually the article clearly says that the bullet will hit a moving target as long as you keep the pointer on target after shooting.
Doc Chase
QUOTE (Mäx @ Oct 22 2010, 04:33 PM) *
Actually the article clearly says that the bullet will hit a moving target as long as you keep the pointer on target after shooting.


Actually, the article clearly states...Nothing. All it says is potentially, potentially, potentially. They have a proof of concept and that's it. Testing hasn't even been done on actual hardware yet.
KarmaInferno
"a .50-calibre bullet which would be shot out of a gunbarrel just like a normal dumb slug - but would then be able to steer itself onto a bright dot produced by a targeting laser."

The whole point of the EXACTO program is to produce a "fire and forget" bullet. (DARPA's words, not mine)

There are a couple of other projects in the works for advanced rifle scopes that auto-correct for aiming adjustments, but that's something different.

Whether they'll get it to work is another matter, but I think we're debating the uses of a successful development, not whether it's possible.

Overall, DARPA wants to have a extended range ability to snipe targets, and have it doable by regular troops instead of having to train highly specialized sniper teams. They've tripled the number of snipers in the past few years, and it's an expensive process to find and train those guys. If they can come up with a hardware solution, not only will it allow you to have sniping capacity in every squad, but it should hopefully save money in the long run.



-k
Doc Chase
And once they have a working prototype, fantastic. Right now they don't even have that.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Oct 22 2010, 11:50 AM) *
Actually, the article clearly states...Nothing. All it says is potentially, potentially, potentially. They have a proof of concept and that's it. Testing hasn't even been done on actual hardware yet.


Yeah, from my reading all it is is a laser-calculated trajectory. You lob the thing based on the math retruned by the laser (and some options from the fire-er such as an air burst) and it travels down range and explodes on a timed fuse.

Oh wait:

QUOTE
The XM-25 shoots a heavy 25mm exploding slug, whose precision time fuse is set by the gun's systems at the moment of being fired. The weapon's computing sight measures the distance to the target precisely using a laser, and corrects automatically for such factors as air pressure, temperature, relative elevation etc. Buttons above the trigger allow the point at which the shells will detonate to be moved nearer or further away.
KarmaInferno
QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Oct 22 2010, 11:00 AM) *
And once they have a working prototype, fantastic. Right now they don't even have that.

Well, duh.

But how useful or interesting is it to debate that?




-k
KarmaInferno
QUOTE (Draco18s @ Oct 22 2010, 11:07 AM) *
Yeah, from my reading all it is is a laser-calculated trajectory. You lob the thing based on the math retruned by the laser (and some options from the fire-er such as an air burst) and it travels down range and explodes on a timed fuse.

Oh wait:


It helps if you read the whole article. The XM-25 and EXACTO rounds are two different subjects.



-k
Doc Chase
QUOTE (KarmaInferno @ Oct 22 2010, 04:08 PM) *
Well, duh.

But how useful or interesting is it to debate that?




-k


Wait - we're debating?
KarmaInferno
Some of us are. Keep up, willya? smile.gif

In any case, you commented:

"This stuff isn't changing in flight. The gun is making the adjustments based on the return of the laser before it even fires."

Which, according to the article is NOT how the EXACTO rounds are supposed to work - they are supposed to be like laser guided bombs, adjusting their aim in-flight to follow a laser dot. People were just correcting you.

Subsequently saying "but it's not even a prototype yet!" is really just changing the subject, neh?



-k
Doc Chase
Truth be told, I thought they were talking about the other piece of hardware that's actually in testing.

I don't mind correcting, I just don't like condescension when it's happening. Gets my hackles up.
KarmaInferno
Um, I just went back and read the responses to your comment and see no condescending phrases, but okay.

I certainly didn't intend any on my responses.

Then again, I have long had a tendency to NOT assume motivations behind forum posts unless it's blatantly obvious. Makes for far less stressful forum hopping.


-k
KarmaInferno
Another movie the EXACTO rounds reminded me of.




-k
Rayzorblades
SELLECK! Love that guy.

This tech also reminds me of Wanted *dodges flaming garbage*
Doc Chase
QUOTE (KarmaInferno @ Oct 22 2010, 05:50 PM) *
Um, I just went back and read the responses to your comment and see no condescending phrases, but okay.

I certainly didn't intend any on my responses.

Then again, I have long had a tendency to NOT assume motivations behind forum posts unless it's blatantly obvious. Makes for far less stressful forum hopping.


-k


Then we'll just let the matter drop, because you and I are seeing vastly different things.
Smokeskin
QUOTE (Irion @ Oct 22 2010, 04:36 PM) *
Well, since you want to change the vector by manipulating the air resistance of the bullet, and this beeing a funktion of the speed. Well, I guess you would need the current speed. Or you make an approximation.

Then you are unable to just change the angel. I think this is simple to understand. Because things that are in motion stay in motion. So if you start to rotate it will continue to do so if no force counteracting.

The point is, the bullet does not know then how much it has to interact to still miss the target. Has it 1 sec or 0.002 sec to correct the angle?
You might say, it should do it as fast as possible. Well, this tends to become very instable. Meaning your bullet will overdrive.

(Im also not sure how much you could achiev with altering the form of the bullet.)


It isn't like the bullet's speed, travel arc or distance to target is highly variable - it doesn't have to measure these things. They all follow very closely from the time since it left the barrel. Pretty much every detail of the bullet's flight to the target is known and can be programmed, all that is needed is a bit of correction to ensure that the bullet lands on target rather than a near miss.
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