U.S. Special Forces Develop Bullets That Can Work Underwater

The novel bullets use supercavitation.
Loukia Papadopoulos

It's a well-known fact that bullets don't travel far underwater. And one physicist was so certain of the accuracy of the hypothesis, that he shot himself underwater and filmed it.


Physicist Andreas Wahl created a viral video clip of a gun firing directly toward him underwater. Needless to say, the bullet never made it very far and it definitely did not get to Wahl.

A drawback

The reason why bullets drastically slow down underwater is that water is much denser than air, and as a result, bullets can't travel far underwater. This is a huge obstacle for special forces when dealing with underwater missions.

In light of this, U.S. Special Operations Command along with arms manufacturer, DSG Technologies, is in the process of developing a new kind of bullet capable of traveling through water at much faster speeds. This bullet will be able to maintain its original speed by encasing itself in a bubble of gas. 

The process used here is called supercavitation. It refers to the use of cavitation to reduce friction drag on an object in order to enable high speeds.

Supercavitation is currently used in torpedoes and propellers, but never before has it been used on bullets. The new tungsten-tipped CAV-X bullets are specifically adjusted to create a small air bubble as they move through water.

Already testing

The bullets have already been given to Special Operations Command for testing earlier this month. And Odd Leonhardsen, DSG Technologies' chief science officer, told Defense One "the tests will include firing up toward the surface from underwater."

Although this makes for interesting news, any technology produced for war is always troublesome. Especially considering that Leonhardsen revealed that DSG Technologies is selling to other governments as well.

The company official would not reveal which governments he was referring to, but he did state that underwater bullets were not DSG Technologies' only product. The firm is also working on bullets that can "shoot through sandbags, through 2 cm of steel (with no ricochet), and through body armor. "

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