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The Army Is Developing 'Bullets' That Can Chase Tanks And Fighter Jets
The Army wants bullets and mortar shells that do more than hit a target. It wants projectiles that can hit a moving tank or even an aircraft in flight.
It's a worthy idea, except there is a problem. Building small projectiles with actuators—the mechanical parts and control surfaces that would adjust the projectile's trajectory—that can survive being shot out of a gun is a challenge.
It's not that guided projectiles don't exist. The problem is that they're only for artillery. About a decade ago came guided shells like the Army's M982 Excalibur, configured with fins and GPS guidance to adjust its trajectory in flight, reliably land much closer to the target than regular projectiles. But even these shells, shot indirectly from miles away, are really suited to hit stationary targets. Regular artillery shells have an accuracy of landing about 650 feet from the target, according to the army. The M1156 guidance kit, which can be fitted to turn regular shells into smart shells, has an accuracy of 165 feet, while even an Excalibur shell still has an accuracy of sixty-five feet from the target.
But a new army research project aims to create small projectiles—bullets, mortar shells, handheld rockets—that can change their trajectory in mid-flight. "Current gun-launched guided munition technologies are limited to indirect fire against stationary targets on the ground," the Army says. But a more maneuverable projectile, better able to adjust its trajectory, could offer numerous benefits, such as "extreme range extension, enhanced maneuver authority which enables intercepting moving ground and air targets, and increased trajectory shaping that could be used to change the mid-course path of the projectile or control the terminal approach angle to maximize lethality."
For example, a bullet that can change its trajectory would be able to climb over a wall and hit the target hiding behind it. A mortar shell could change its path so that it hits the ground at the most lethal angle.
But of course, it couldn't be that easy. The problem is building a shell with actuators—the mechanical parts that enable the shell to change its path—strong enough to survive being shot out of a cannon. "The gun launch event imposes severely high structural loadings as the projectile is accelerated from stationary to muzzle velocities exceeding four times the speed of sound," the army notes. Some actuators can survive being launched from artillery pieces that impart a force of 20,000 times the force of gravity. But direct fire weapons can impose bigger stresses: the electromagnetic railguns that the U.S. military is developing, for example, impart a force of 60,000 times gravity.
The army suspects the answer lies in "innovative solutions in electro-mechanical design, power conditioning, feedback sensing, embedded processing, and control algorithms." The first phase of the project calls for thinking of ways to develop ways to control the trajectory of small projectiles, followed by a prototype.
In the final phase, the army sees the technology being handed over to the big defense contractors. The new projectiles would be a "component technology provider to industry weapons systems integrators (e.g., Raytheon Missile Systems, Lockheed-Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orbital ATK) for these novel control mechanism technologies in future weapons systems (e.g., High Explosive Guided Mortar)."
This article originally appeared on The National Interest.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.
Nine years after losing both legs in Afghanistan, he's found purpose in family, friends and inspiring others
There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.
To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.
Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.
On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.
It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I believe in post-traumatic growth," Jones said. "That means you go through tough and difficult situations and on the back end through recovery, you learn strength."
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.