National Lab Seeks Partner to Commercialize Self-Guided BulletFebruary 02, 2012
Sandia National Laboratories is seeking a partnership with a private company to commercialize a new guided bullet that its engineers have invented, according to the U.S. government lab, which is managed by Lockheed Martin.
The Sandia researchers, Red Jones and Brian Kast and their colleagues, created a dart-like self-guided bullet for small-caliber firearms that uses laser guidance to hit targets more than a mile away.
"We have a very promising technology to guide small projectiles that could be fully developed inexpensively and rapidly," Jones said. The prototype was built using commercially available components and the initial testing in computer simulations was successful, according to Jones. There are several design and engineering issues to be hammered out, but Jones said the lab is confident about the science and the available engineering technology to solve the problems.
The prototype design is a four-inch long bullet with a built-in optical sensor in its nose to detect a laser beam on the target. The sensor directs guidance and control information using an algorithm and a small central processing unit that helps steer tiny built-in fins to guide the bullet.
According to the Sandia lab's computer simulations, an unguided bullet in real world conditions can miss a target that is half a mile away by almost 10 yards. With this guided bullet, however, it could strike within eight inches of a target.
Potential customers for this type of bullet could include the military and law enforcement agencies.