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Pirates Beware: Soon Rifles That Kill from a Mile Away


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http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1891348,00.html?cnn=yes

Pirates Beware: Soon Rifles That Kill from a Mile Away

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.

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."

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).

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They(107) can already hit targets from 1.2 miles(max range) away. However on a ship it quadruples (if not more)the accuracy. What really sounds interesting is the ""fire and forget" technologies including "fin-stabilized projectiles, spin-stabilized projectiles" Now thats FTW.

Met a few snipers in Iraq when I first got there, they let us play with a 107 for a bit. Awsome weapon, one rifle had a confirmed kill. Not the sniper, just his rifle and it(the rifle) had never seen Iraq or Afgan.

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  • 2 weeks later...

About ten years ago, I worked in an office right next to the former head of the Marine Corps under Ronald Reagan and he's on the board of directors for Ruger guns. He gets a copy of every new model of gun that comes off the assembly line shipped out overnight. One day I see a very long aluminum case sitting opened in his office. Late in the day he comes out with one of these new sniper guns. The barrel was made of composite fiber in a criss cross pattern like a toy chinese handcuff. Apparently when the barrel gets hot it gets MORE accurate. The sights were very high tech and could account for wind etc. The model he had wasn't the 50 caliber, it was the little brother. It doesn't look like a normal rifle at all. Very very cool. Especially the barrel. Bet they have better electronics ten years later.

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