The guided bullet.

How it works. (click for larger image.)

For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavorable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology. It is critical that snipers be able to engage targets faster, and with better accuracy, since any shot that doesn’t hit a target also risks the safety of troops by indicating their presence and potentially exposing their location.

The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) system sought to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines. The objective of the EXACTO program was to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet. The EXACTO 50- caliber round and optical sighting technology was developed to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems. The system combined a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target, allowing the bullet to change path during flight to compensate for any unexpected factors that may drive it off course.

40 years ago today.

40 years ago today, marked the end of the Vietnam War. The capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People’s Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (also known as the Việt Cộng) happened on April 30, 1975.

North Vietnamese forces began their final attack on Saigon, with on April 29 with a heavy artillery bombardment. This bombardment at the Tân Sơn Nhứt Airport killed the last two American servicemen to die in Vietnam, Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge. By the next day, North Vietnamese troops raised their flag over the South Vietnamese presidential palace.

And that, sadly, was that.

  • 58,200 US Troops killed.
  • 1,629 US Troops still MIA.
  • 280,000 Allies and South Vietnamese Troops killed.
  • 1,100,000 North Vietnamese and Việt Cộng killed.
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