February 1st, 2012

Sandia Labs Develops Laser-Guided Bullet — Amazing Technology

Two Sandia National Laboratories engineers, both hunters, have developed a patented design for a laser-guided bullet. The 4″-long laser-guided projectile has made hits at ranges up to 2000 meters. No this is NOT an April Fools’ joke. The projectile shoots from a smooth-bore rifle and uses small, movable fins to adjust its trajectory. The fins are controlled by micro-sized actuators in response to signals from a tiny, onboard laser-sensor. Plastic sabots provide a gas seal and protect the delicate fins while the projectile is in the firearm’s barrel.

Click Here for Video News Report on Sandia-developed Guided Bullet

Sandia researchers Red Jones and Brian Kast (and colleagues) have invented a dart-like, self-guided bullet for small-caliber, smooth-bore firearms that could hit laser-designated targets at distances of more than a mile. “We have a very promising technology to guide small projectiles that could be fully developed inexpensively and rapidly,” Jones said. Researchers have had initial success testing the design in computer simulations and in field tests of prototypes, built from commercially available parts, Jones said. While engineering issues remain, “we’re confident in our science base and we’re confident the engineering-technology base is there to solve the problems,” he said.

Sandia Labs, laser-guided bullet

Sandia’s design for the four-inch-long bullet includes an optical sensor in the nose to detect a laser beam on a target. The sensor sends information to guidance and control electronics that use an algorithm in an eight-bit central processing unit to command electromagnetic actuators. These actuators steer tiny fins that guide the bullet to the target.

Fin-Stabilization — Like on a Guided Missile
The guided projectile is shot from smooth bore barrel with no rifling. While conventional bullets are spin-stabilized, Scandia’s guided bullet doesn’t spin in flight. To enable the guided bullet to adjust its trajectory toward a target and to simplify the design, the spin had to go, Jones said. As on most guided missiles, fins both stabilize and steer the projectile. But on this projectile, the fins are tiny — just a few millimeters tall.

The bullet flies straight due to its aerodynamically stable design, which consists of a center of gravity that sits forward in the projectile and tiny fins that enable it to fly without spin, just as a dart does, he said. The four-inch-long bullet has actuators that steer tiny fins that guide it to its target.

Projectile Flies at 2400 fps — More Speed Is Possible
Testing has shown the electromagnetic actuator performs well and the bullet can reach speeds of 2,400 feet per second, or Mach 2.1, using commercially available gunpowder. The researchers are confident it could reach standard military speeds using customized gunpowder.

Sandia Labs, laser-guided bullet

Sub-MOA Accuracy at 1000m — No Matter What the Wind Does
Computer aerodynamic modeling shows the design would result in dramatic improvements in accuracy, Jones said. Computer simulations showed an unguided bullet under real-world conditions could miss a target more than a half mile away (1,000 meters away) by 9.8 yards (9 meters), but a guided bullet would get within 8 inches (0.2 meters), according to the patent.

The prototype does not require a device found in guided missiles called an inertial measuring unit, which would have added substantially to its cost. Instead, the researchers found that the bullet’s relatively small size when compared to guided missiles “is helping us all around. It’s kind of a fortuitous thing that none of us saw when we started,” Jones said.

As the bullet flies through the air, it pitches and yaws at a set rate based on its mass and size. In larger guided missiles, the rate of flight-path corrections is relatively slow, so each correction needs to be very precise because fewer corrections are possible during flight. But “the natural body frequency of this bullet is about 30 hertz, so we can make corrections 30 times per second. That means we can over-correct, so we don’t have to be as precise each time,” Jones said.

Projectile Becomes More Stable After Launch
Researchers also filmed high-speed video of the bullet radically pitching as it exited the barrel. The bullet pitches less as it flies down range, a phenomenon known to long-range firearms experts as “going to sleep.” Because the bullet’s motions settle the longer it is in flight, accuracy improves at longer ranges, Jones said. “Nobody had ever seen that, but we’ve got high-speed video photography that shows that it’s true,” he said. (See below)

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October 7th, 2011

New Lego-like Composite Interlocking Walls Stop 50 BMG Rounds

Ballistics Research 3D IPS AABCHere’s an interesting invention from Ballistics Research, a Georgia-based security company that specializes in projectile barrier and containment systems. Ballistics Research has come up with a Interlocking Protection System (3-D IPS) that uses interlocking composite blocks — similar to giant Lego blocks — that will stop rounds up to .50 BMG. Two layers of blocks will even contain a 23mm cannon round. The Anti-Armor Ballistics Composite (AABC) blocks are lighter than concrete or other building materials, and they withstand repeated fire much better than old-fashioned sandbag stacks. Ballistics Research claims that its AABC composite is “the only material in existence that actually gains strength with incoming rounds.”

Ballistics Research 3D IPS AABC

Most conventional protection units available to the military and corporate worlds (like sandbags or concrete) are non-portable, or they degrade rapidly under sustained fire. Ballistics Research’s AABC™ material actually becomes stronger with multiple hits. In fact, each of the 3-D IPS blocks is capable of absorbing thousands of rounds of machine gun fire without failure.

Video Shows Effectiveness of 3-D IPS System
The Video below shows a 3-D IPS Block wall being tested first with a full-auto 5.56×45 M16, next an M60 machine gun firing 7.62×51 rounds, and finally a “Ma Deuce” shooting .50 Cal API M2HB Armor Piercing Rounds. This is all done at very close range. The AABC material soaks up ALL the projectiles. Very impressive indeed….

While 3-D IPS block installations are designed primarily for military compounds, or commercial sites (such as power plants) where high security is required. However, they can be used in any location where secure protection from high-velocity projectiles is required. For example, 3-D IPS blocks could be used for a down-range storage building on a shooting range. For more information, visit BallisticsResearch.com, call (678) 679-1973 or email: wayne@ballisticsresearch.com.

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January 29th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: GS Custom Bullets from South Africa

GS Custom BulletsGS Custom Bullets has been producing high-quality hunting and target bullets in South Africa since 1993. GS Custom Bullets specializes in monometal solids. For hunters, the GS solids have proven extremely effective on game animals, including the biggest species on the African continent. The GS match bullets are CNC-machined to very exacting tolerances, offering superior concentricity and uniformity. The large match bullets feature drive bands for reduced engraving force, and an extremely slippery shape for exceptionally high ballistic coefficients. GS has made a special 1,100-grain 50-caliber projectile that has a calculated G1 BC of 1.85! This bullet, launched at 3400 fps, can stay supersonic out to 4,000 meters — that’s 2.49 miles!

GS Custom Bullets

Gerard Schultz, founder of GS Custom Bullets, holds a number of patents on his bullet designs. Currently GS Custom is selling to the American market through its South African website, GSCustom.co.ZA. However, this year GS Custom hopes to expand production to North America, starting a production facility in the USA. The North American effort will be lead by Gerard Schultz’s daughter, Gina, and her husband Anthony. They can be contacted through GSCustomUSA.com. We met with Gina and Anthony at SHOT Show in Las Vegas and learned more about these remarkable bullet designs. The video is worth watching. These are no ordinary bullets.

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GS Custom Bullets

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