February 01, 2012
Guided artillery shells have been around for years, but small arms have always fired "dumb" bullets. That may be changing with a new bullet design from Sandia National Laboratory. The lab, in Albuquerque, N.M., was one of the linchpins of atomic bomb production, and now works in a variety of fields on the frontiers of technology.
Sandia showed a .50 cal. round with a saboted 4-inch bullet that uses laser guidance to correct its flight path 30 times a second. Tiny fins continuously move the bullet, which is fired from a smoothbore barrel.
Sandia is looking for a partner to commercialize the ammunition, which it says has military, commercial and recreational applications.
No price estimate was offered, but I think we can assume a self-guided bullet will be a good bit higher than cast lead.
You also can set your watch for anti-gun groups to call for a ban on this technology, just as they did when an abortive attempt was made to sell caseless ammo 15 or 20 years ago.