Via the Danger Room at Wired magazine:
The U.S. military has been after self-guided bullets for years. Now, government researchers have finally made it happen: a bullet that can navigate itself a full mile before successfully nailing its target.
The breakthrough comes courtesy of engineers at the government’s Sandia National Laboratories. They’ve successfully tested a prototype of the bullet at distances up to 2,000 meters — more than a mile. The photo above is an actual image taken during one of those tests. A light-emitting diode was attached to the bullet, showing the amazing pathway that the munition made through the night sky
The article goes on to describe the on-the-ground implications of this technology:
Even with an ace marksman, researchers found that a typical unguided bullet — operating in real world conditions that might include crosswinds or changes in air density — would miss a target that was a half-mile away by nine meters. A guided bullet, however, could get within eight inches of that same target.I only have two words, written in both awe and fear: "Oh shit."
For a little more perspective, consider the world record in shooting accuracy: It currently belongs to British Army sniper Corporal Craig Harrison, who shot two Taliban operatives from a mile-and-a-half away. And Harrison performed that feat under “perfect” conditions.