- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
- Friend of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found guilty of impeding probe
- Train with MH17 plane crash bodies leaves rebel town in Ukraine
- Half of Colorado voters are OK with Hobby Lobby decision, poll shows
- HIV-killing condom to soon hit shelves in Australia
- Estonia pulls plug on Steven Seagal over praise for Putin
- Lawyer: Pelvic exam pics cost Hopkins $190 million
Sandia Labs engineers create ‘self-guided’ bullet
Question of the Day
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A bullet that directs itself like a tiny guided missile and can hit a target more than a mile away has the potential to change the battlefield for soldiers without costing too much, engineers at Sandia National Laboratories said Wednesday.
The bullet can twist and turn to guide itself toward a laser-directed point, all while making up to 30 corrections per second. It’s packed with electronics that control electromagnetic actuators that steer the bullet’s tiny fins.
Sandia technical staff member Red Jones said the .50-caliber 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.”
Jones and his fellow researchers have had initial success testing the design in computer simulations and in field tests of prototypes, built from commercially available parts.
With most of the hard science done, Jones said the next step is for Sandia to partner with a private company to complete testing of the prototype and bring a guided bullet to the marketplace.
More than $1 million in research and development grants have taken the project this far. The bullet has been in development for three years.
Testing has shown the bullet can reach speeds of 2,400 feet per second. Researchers said they were confident the bullet could reach standard military speeds using customized gunpowder.
Computer simulations showed an unguided bullet under real-world conditions could miss a target more than a half mile away by nearly 10 yards. But according to the patent, a guided bullet would get within eight inches.
Sandia Labs said the design for the 4-inch-long bullet includes an optical sensor in the nose to detect a laser beam on a target. The sensor sends information to guidance and control electronics that use an algorithm in an eight-bit central processing unit to command electromagnetic actuators. These actuators steer tiny fins that guide the bullet to the target.
Jones said there are still some engineering problems to be sorted out that will make the bullet more practical _ for example, it will have to be tough enough to be dropped off the back of a truck and still work.
Even more innovation will be needed for the manufacturing process.
“What we want to do is make it cheap enough to make it cost effective for the military to use in a machine gun,” he said. “It’s not going to be millions of dollars, but it’s not going to be a buck a piece either.”
Aside from the military, Sandia Labs said potential customers for the bullet could include law enforcement and recreational shooters.
Follow Susan Montoya Bryan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/susanmbryanNM
Information from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com
TWT Video Picks
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- More immigrants deported from New Mexico center
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- Ron Paul: U.S. partly to blame for Malaysia Airlines disaster
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Pro-Russia rebel commander suggests passengers died days before Malaysian flight
- Vladimir Putin pressured to aid Ukraine plane crash probe, rein in rebels
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq