The agency responsible for developing the Defense Department's next generation, science fiction-like technology is working to bring guided bullets that can change direction mid-flight to the military's most elite marksmen.
"This is an amazing advancement in sniper technology and it will save countless American lives on the battlefield," he told Marine Corps Times. "It will turn any Marine into a precision shooter at extreme distances."
"This technology cannot and should never replace the job of the sniper team," said Innis, who has extensive experience with .50-caliber rifles and now works as an instructor for Michigan-based Condition Zero Training Group. "Technology can fail at any given moment and shooters need to adapt to this and respond accordingly."
Not to mention, snipers have an array of other difficult to master skills. Those include getting into position without being detected, and surveillance and reconnaissance. They are invaluable as a commander's eyes on the battlefield.
But the program's purpose is clear. To make snipers deadlier.
Exactly how the bullet works is a closely guarded national secret. But past challenges to develop a steerable bullet have included creating electronics that are robust enough to withstand the monumental g-forces exerted as a bullet explodes from the barrel of a firearm.
The new round could eventually become a significant battlefield advantage for Marine snipers.
"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," the program's website states. "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."
One novel use for the system Innis foresees is having a robotic setup holding and aiming the actual rifle. All a spotter would do is paint the target. Because the spotter would no long need to be shoulder-to-shoulder with a shooter, the auditory and visual signature of a shot fired wouldn't give up his location.